Attempting to overcome destructive habits and/or vices is an arbitrary motive that usually winds up being in the best case scenario frustrating, and in the worst case scenario, the repeated failure can lead to severe feelings of shame and guilt. The problem lies not with the attempt or the potential attempt itself but where the energy is focused, or I will say misfocused.
All acts in the physical are purely manifestations of thought. When a pattern of thinking has begun, it is as if a fuse has been lit. The more intense the thought pattern, the shorter the fuse becomes and the less time you have until the explosive (the explosive in this case would be the destructive habit) is finally ignited. The closer the fuse gets to igniting the explosive or deploying the manifestation of your destructive habit, the more difficult it is to extinguish, and of course once it ignites it is too late. The key is to extinguish the fuse before the point of no return or restrain from lighting the fuse in the first place.
The goal should not be to overcome the action or the physical manifestation but rather the goal should be to overcome the harmful and provocative thought pattern that precedes the action that lit the fuse in the first place. For example, if you say to yourself “I’m so hungry, I am craving a cheeseburger.” You have lit the fuse. If you continue envisioning yourself eating a cheeseburger and think about all the various places you could get a good cheeseburger then the fuse continues to burn. If you spend the next two hours talking and thinking about cheeseburgers the fuse eventually runs out and it is too late to turn back. You will find yourself eating a cheeseburger.
However, if you caught yourself while in the middle of that thought pattern and shifted your thoughts to something else, like perhaps eating a salad or something more healthy, then you could actually extinguish the fuse and by continuing with the healthy thought pattern you would not only no longer manifest the destructive habit, but you would manifest a healthier outcome instead.
The same goes for anything. I can tell you when I used to drink alcohol, on the nights that I drank wine there was one thing that consistently preceded the actual act of drinking, THINKING about drinking. I would begin with a thought like, “I cannot wait to get home and have a glass of wine.” Then I would visualize the kind of wine I wanted, what it would taste like, how relaxed it would make me feel, where I could buy that particular wine, and even what I would make for dinner to go along with that wine. Every time I lit that “thought fuse”, my destructive habit of drinking would ignite and manifest in the physical world. I would be doing exactly what I had thought about doing all day.
On the contrary, on the nights I didn’t drink I had different thoughts throughout the day. Sometimes I had thoughts about doing a juice cleanse, going to the gym, going for a run, etc… When I did not have thoughts of drinking or when I did not light that “thought fuse” then my destructive habit of drinking would not ignite and manifest itself in the physical world. Unfortunately until I started journaling my thought process, I didn’t see that pattern, but once I did that was the end of that destructive habit.
I tried to stop drinking many times but always failed which caused more feelings of shame. What I didn’t know was that I was attempting the impossible. After seeing my thought patterns I changed my goal. Instead of attempting to stop drinking, I attempted (successfully) to stop THINKING about drinking. I trained myself to extinguish the fuse once it had been lit by shifting my thoughts to healthier things. Then eventually I stopped lighting the fuse all together by totally eliminating any and all thoughts about drinking so I stopped manifesting that destructive habit in my physical life.
Attempt to change the thing you have control over… the fuse. Don’t try to stop the explosion (or the physical manifestation) after the fuse has run its course. That will only end up in frustration, disappointment, pain, and suffering. Extinguish the fuse before it reaches the explosive or don’t light the fuse at all.