Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Imagine you have an habit or a way of thinking that you think is wrong but you keep thinking /doing the same way because you have done it all your life the same way.

How do you reverse it?

Edit: Although i don't have a perfect example and the question is broad, i think the answers posted give a perfect reply to this question.

share|improve this question
Your question is too broad to give a meaningful answer. Can you edit it, give specific examples, and define 'wrong' (preferably in terms of productivity, that's what this site is for). – Jan Doggen May 5 '14 at 10:29
You can't actually unlearn things... but you can learn new things that make old ones redundant. For example, you can't unlearn how to ride a bicycle, but you can choose to take the bus instead. So, don't try to overcome unhelpful habits by focusing on how to get rid of them. Instead, put your energy into developing new habits that replace the unhelpful ones. – Kramii May 6 '14 at 8:49
one of the most interesting and deep questions I've read here. I am looking forward to find the answer (If there's one) too. – Radolino May 14 '14 at 7:37

Learn to recognise the trigger situations, which normally result in your habitual response. Be ready for those triggers, and when they happen, fully observe what happens, with interest - not judgement.

Sometimes you may be aware enough of the moment of decision, and avoid taking the habitual path. Other times, you may miss that moment, but have enough awareness to come to a better understanding of how this trigger-habit mechanism works.

Judgement or guilt will ruin either of those advantages.

This is a slow, and difficult way, but can be most effective with perseverence.

share|improve this answer
I put up a similar answer to this on a question on changing habits: – Muz Jul 15 '14 at 23:45

It's not easy.

Many habits are the result of years of positive feedback. Think of doing habits as your brain taking the biochemical pathway of least resistance. To change your habits, it takes constant willful decisions to not do the behavior of your habit. This is cognitive and behavioral change and as such visiting a cognitive behavioral therapist would be a great help.

A therapist will help you find the root cause of the behavior and understand why it is a habit for you. Knowing why you do what you do is half the battle.

Since your brain is essentially addicted to the feedback chemicals of the habit behavior, you essentially have to supersede those addictions with better chemical feedback. That happens best when you help others permanently change the same behavior.

Find and help others that want to make the same changes and get guidance from a cognitive behavioral psychologist. The more emotional and spiritual this experience is for you, the faster you can make a permanent change.

share|improve this answer

First of all accept the fact by your heart and mind that the thing is wrong. No matter how deep its root is, but accept it, with time everything changes. "Changes" in a way of advancement, growth, development and for social good. Change is not bad. Not in a day, but it will take time. Believe in yourself.

Find the original fact, research about it and why earlier you were wrong. Feel sorry. No there is nothing wrong to be yourself. Respect the fact.

Ask people who are more educated about the topic. Be genuine to learn from them. Respect them, their thoughts.

No you cannot reverse your thinking or habit. Until and unless you accept the truth by your soul and heart. There is one way, called overlapping. It worked for me in many areas. Digest the fact and overlap the new thinking or habit on the old one.

Be quite on the time or areas where that old thinking or habit triggers. You will sooner than you think change yourself.

“If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible.” ― T. Harv Eker.

share|improve this answer

Stimulus - response. Train yourself like you'd train a dog; ie like Pavlov did. It works.

Say you have somehow maintained the false belief that you never get anything done. You do get things done, you just won't admit it to yourself.

(I don't know anybody like this this is a made-up problem so don't start thinking I'm referring to myself and anyway I do shave anytime I have to make myself presentable).

OK so you finish the dishes and put them away and get ready to move about the next thing you haven't done yet - but then...

Goo-ood boy! Just look how clean & finished it looks (here, have a little choccy - wokky) GOOD boy! You will always recognise just what needs to be done and get it all finished, no matter what you're dealing with now doesn't that back-scratcher feel nice? You deserve that scratch etcetera..

Notice that my self-praise includes Martin Seligman's PPP principle (Personal, Pervasive and Permanent).

In the end you'll salivate when you do the dishes but you'll be fixed.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.