People have different habits that mold their personalities and change their lives. Good habits are hard to follow since they take time and discipline is required, while bad habits are easy to follow since they are an escape from work and daily routines. The reason people are after pleasure is they do not want to change their routines and ways of life since they are obsessed with useless routines and bad habits that lead them into an abyss. Pleasure is not bad if it is healthy and in moderation, but pleasure in excess is lethal and will have devastating effects. It is easy to get addicted to alcohol, but it gets hard later to quit it. It is easy to get addicted to smoking, but it is hard to quit it later. Every bad habit is easy to follow, and it is hard to leave it. Replacing bad habits with good habits is challenging, but it is not possible; it required consistency. Our habits define our life; our desires lead us astray, we need to control our desires so that we control our lives and live peacefully.

“In particular, people suffering from clinical depression may find that unsatisfying pleasures have come to replace the more fulfilling activities that once gave their lives meaning. They can easily end up becoming forms of distraction or sources of emotional numbing.”


  • You need to evaluate the positive as well as the negative of a bad desire.
  • Spot the warning signs of a desire in an early stage and act on them.
  • Look at the bad habit through a different lens.
  • Replace bad habits with good habits.

Evaluate the consequences of your habits or desires:

You need to weigh the pros and cons of your desires, whether it is good or bad. It is easy to say smoking is a bad habit, and I cannot quit it since I am addicted to it. Once you evaluate the potential consequences of smoking, you study it deeply, every time you smoke, you may feel guilty and you would likely quit it. When you understand the positives and negatives of something, it gets easier for you to decide whether you should continue doing it or you should get rid of it. You may be stuck in a bad relationship in the future, and your partner may be a manipulator and would take advantage of you; it would be hard for you to leave since he/she has trapped you emotionally. You need to write down the advantages and disadvantages of your relationship, does it benefit you? Or does it hurt you? If the negative outweighs the positive, you should give up on it, and try to start a new relationship. It is the fear of abandonment that scares us, but when you are liberated, you feel reborn and refreshed. Remember: we change with time, and nothing stays forever, everything changes with time.  You should even outweigh the positive and negative of the stuff you buy for yourself and your home; you should apply this concept to anything you think is necessary. Once the picture is clear, you will be able to suppress your desires. As long as you are confused and your mind is foggy, you are in the dark, and your mind just stops working, all you see is darkness. Do sit when you develop habits and desires that do not benefit you but inflict pain on you, and carefully evaluate their positive and negative.

“In fact, really thinking through consequences of behaviors and picturing them vividly in your mind may be enough in some cases to eliminate the behavior. Epictetus therefore told his students to envision the consequences of an action and determine how it would work out for them over time. We can observe Marcus employing this method, asking himself what each action means for him and wondering whether he’ll have cause to regret it in the future.”

Spot early warning signs:

The bad desires that are emerging can easily be spotted in an early stage, when they are mature, it takes many efforts to fight them. Once you feel that you are going to get addicted to something, you should know that it is the right time to make a decision and leave that thing; you already have learned the positive and negative of habits and desires, and you can easily decide whether you should continue it or not. It is hard to decide unless you have a clear picture of habits or desires: you should carefully evaluate the potential consequences. Whenever a bad habit emerges, and it is going to get mature with time, you need to stop it in the first place before it takes its hold on you.

“Learning to catch things at an early stage makes it easier to derail the chain of behaviors that leads to the full desire or passion emerging. Raising awareness of the subtle elements of a behavior also makes it feel less automatic. For instance, most adults can tie their own shoelaces automatically, without thinking about it. However, if you try to teach a child how to do it, you may find yourself suddenly all thumbs. What was habitual and automatic when we didn’t think about it often becomes very clumsy and awkward when we are forced to analyze the steps or do it in a slightly different manner. That’s unhelpful if you’re performing before an audience or playing a sport, where thinking too much about your behavior can cause self-consciousness and disrupt routine actions. Ask someone who’s about to perform a skilled action, like putting in golf, whether they begin doing it by breathing in or out —that will often be enough to confuse them and put them off. The same principle, that self-awareness disrupts the automatic quality of the behavior, can be very helpful when you actually want to break a bad habit.”

Gain cognitive distance:

It gets easy to get rid of a bad habit when it is seen through the lens of other people. Smoking or eating junk food is easy, and we can say, it is just for now, and it does not have serious effects on your health, but once you evaluate smoking or junk food through the lens of others, you understand it is not healthy at all, and it gives you fewer benefits. Breaking things into chunks helps us see them in-depth, and we get an insight into each part deeply. We do not understand things better unless we study them deeply. Once you view a bad habit from different perspectives, you involve great personalities, you bring people of the past and act as if they are viewing it, you get a clear picture, and your perspective about it gets changed. Now, you understand that you were wrong, and your thoughts encouraged the bad habits, you say it is just one time, and it would not affect you that much, and you just badly get obsessed with it. The reason we cannot give up on bad desires is that we think positively about them since our mind thinks in one direction, when evaluating them carefully, we understand we should not live like this anymore.

“For instance, when engaged in certain actions, such as bad habits of the kind we’ve been discussing, Marcus advised pausing and asking of each step: “Does death appear terrible because I would be deprived of this?” That gave him a way of isolating each part of a habit in turn and casting its value in question.17 For example, someone smoking a cigarette might ask with each puff whether losing that sensation would really be the end of the world. Someone compulsively checking social media might stop and ask if not reading each individual notification would really be so unbearable. If you practice self-awareness in this way, you’ll often (but not always) realize that the pleasure you obtain from such habits is actually much less than you previously assumed.”

“Viewed from a different perspective, in other words, the things people crave are often nothing to get excited about.”

Do something else:

Once you understand that you have developed a bad habit; you see it through the lens of others; you can overcome it. Replacing bad habits with good habits is the best way to overcome bad habits. You spend your time online, just scrolling, and wasting your time, what you should do is uninstall some apps that are not helpful at all, and the amount of time you waste on social media, you should utilize that time reading; going to the gym; gardening; going for a walk— depends on what suits your nature. You can replace any bad habit with a good habit by finding an alternative. If you are addicted to smoking, you should not get close to those who are smoking in the early stage; you should fight it till you are strong enough that it does not matter anymore.

“Many types of urges only last a minute or so at a time, although they may recur throughout the day. You only have to deal with the present moment, though, one instance of an urge or craving at a time.”


It gets easier to overcome a bad habit when you evaluate it carefully and see it through a different lens; the next step is to replace the bad habit with a good habit, and not succumb to temptations.


  1. Robertson, D. (2019). How to think like a Roman emperor: The stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. St. Martin’s Press.

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