Break the habit … permanently.

I was overwhelmed by the number of people who reached out to me after I published “How have I remained completely sickness free for the past six years?” Each one had their own little situation going on … fighting their own little demons or battles. While each of their situations and battles seem huge in their minds, I would submit that they are actually “small situations or battles.” You see, I have learned that any obstacle or battle becomes easy to overcome when you break it down into small, easy to manage, daily steps.

It is like going to the gym to build muscles. You will be an idiot if you do not understand that the process involves small daily steps forward towards the desired end result. After a week or two, you still won’t see any change in your body, but you will know that you are on the right track and that the results will eventually show … if you continue on the structured step by step journey you have embarked upon. The same thing can be said for breaking any nasty habit you may have … you have to do it in a constructive step by step manner.

There are no magic wands available to us, period.

However, you can achieve magical results in any facet of life simply by taking one step in the right direction every day. When you look back after just six months, you won’t believe the magical change this methodical change process has brought about. Life becomes magical then. Let me tell you … six months flies by very quickly.

Are you going to be one of those people who looks back after six months and wish they had gotten started six months ago? Imagine where you could have been if only you got started six months ago. It is truly deflating. In fact, it is so deflating that it probably won’t motivate you to take immediate action to ensure that you won’t look back after another six months in regret. You see, failure breeds failure. Just like that, you would have fallen into a horrible rut. However, if you have taken action six months ago and are now amazed by the results and change your actions have brought about, you will be very keen to adopt this strategy with everything you wish to achieve in life from there on.

Success breeds success.

It is then that life becomes truly magical.

You will look back in amazement after one year … two years … five years and would not be able to comprehend what you have achieved. The fact is, you did achieve it. Believe it or not. You have become a winner. You now understand how to conquer life and any challenge you wish to achieve.

You will understand then that you indeed have a magic wand in your hand.

Each of us has a magic wand in our hands … we just need to learn how to use it.

Understand this clearly: Anybody can dramatically change their lives within just six months (for better or for worse). The only prerequisite is that you get started immediately and take one step in the right direction every single day. If you don’t get started, you will be worse off in six months from now.

Very simple … but very effective.

Ok, how do we deal with the issues these people – who have reached out to me – are dealing with?

I can only draw from my own life experiences and simple logic. For that reason, I will refer to my own experiences often. I write about what I know has worked for me and what I have experienced myself. I am not qualified to write in any other capacity.

The issues people seem to be struggling with are the common ones … smoking … alcohol abuse … unhealthy eating habits … inability to bring about permanent change.

All of them acknowledged right off the bat that they knew they were on the wrong path. They could see and appreciate the damage their unhealthy life choices have done to their bodies, mindset and general wellbeing. One person told me straight, “if I continue like this, I won’t see 45.”

The positive thing about all of these people is that they have acknowledged that a change is needed. All of them appreciate that they are on the wrong path. I didn’t reach out to them … they reached out to me. That’s very positive. They have already taken a huge step in the right direction by simply acknowledging that a change is needed in their lives. There is nothing more sad to see than people who simply have given themselves over to their destructive lifestyles.

It is common to hear these lost souls say: “You have one life, enjoy it.” In that manner, they justify their very unhealthy, undisciplined and destructive lifestyles. When they reach fifty, they have the appearance of a 65-year old person. They feel insecure in their relationships, because they have not looked after themselves … they are struggling with bodily malfunctions … in most cases, their partner’s eyes and mind will begin to wander. They will look for excitement in other places. These people will say, “I cannot compete with a thirty-year old.” Rubbish! If you have looked after yourself, no thirty-year old will be able to compete with the fantastic fifty-year old you. Nothing is as sexy as an older person who has taken good care of themselves.

There is hope for these people who have reached out to me.

They want change.

They can have change.

They will have change … if they adopt a structured daily step by step plan to get to their goal.

Just saying you want and need to change, is useless. Change will not happen unless you commit yourself to do whatever is necessary to bring about the change required. This is where many people lose their way. They focus on the end result only. They focus on the demanding or long journey required to get where they need to be. They want quick fixes. There are none. Breaking up the journey into small, disciplined, daily steps is the only way. By focusing on the peak of the mountain before them, the mountain seems dauntingly insurmountable … and poof, they continue as they have with their destructive ways. They don’t adopt a simple plan to get where they need to be. Their downward spiral simply continues from there on. The problem with these people is that they will inevitably end up falling prey to their own undisciplined and unhealthy lifestyles. They will be diagnosed with all kinds of sicknesses, bodily malfunctions and their partner might have left them … disillussioned with what you have become. Once the damage is done, the journey will suddenly change from prevention to management. They will live a life of suffering and discomfort … and inevitably die much too young. What a waste of precious life.

Why wait until the damage is done?

Prevention is far better than cure.

You see, if you are the type who wants magical results within a day or a week, you can just stop reading right here and continue on your destructive way. I cannot offer you any assistance or advice. There is no help for you.

However, for those willing to commit to change and commit to a daily structured plan to bring about the required change, I can tell you right here and now:

“You will reach your goal. You will achieve the required change.”

It really is not rocket science … just simple logic.

The first thing required for change to occur is to acknowledge that change is required. Those who have reached out to me have done this. They can feel good about the fact that they have acknowledged that a change is needed in their lives.

The next step is to picture the desired result. Where do you want to be?

Now we know where you are … and also where you want to be.

It is like writing a book. The way I managed to write my book, was to know where I wanted to be once the book was done. I saw myself holding the published book in my hands. How I actually managed to get there, was to write at least one page every day until the book was done … in other words, I took one small step forward every day until I achieved the desired result. I didn’t assign a timeframe to achieving the desired result. I simply slogged on daily until that precious moment when I held my published book in my hands.

The key is: I structured my day to allow for one hour non negotiable writing time. In my case, I woke up an hour earlier and that became my writing time. I simply took one step toward the destination every single day, until I got there.

Anything in life can be achieved in this way.

How did I shed 24.5kg in fat? I committed myself to daily exercise and adopting healthier eating habits. I started very slowly … just by walking around the neighbourhood. I also slowly changed my eating habits from unhealthy to only good foods and drinks. Again, I assigned 5pm to 7pm as my exercise time. I committed to losing 100g to 200g every single day … that is about 1kg on average per week over six days. The seventh day was a rest day and a cheat day.

Ok, so now we know how to get into shape and write a book.

You probably don’t want to do either of the above. You want to know how do you stop smoking or stop abusing alcohol?

Very easy, if you are committed.

If it was me with the problem, I would have tackled it in the following way: I would first have established how many cigarettes I smoke on average every day. Lets say it is 6 per hour for sixteen hours every day. Gosh man, what is wrong with you…? How old are you going to look when you are 50?


So, now we know I am smoking 96 cigarettes each day. Thats a fact. How I would deal with this problem is to simply take out my 96 cigarettes ration for each day and put them in a container or something. Isolate them into daily rations. On the first day of change, I would remove two cigarettes from the container and smoke the other 94 as per usual. I will commit myself to only smoking those 94 cigarettes each day … not one more. I will go on like this for three or four days… Or even seven days.

After about four days, I would put two less cigarettes in the container. So now, I will only be smoking 92 cigarettes per day, instead of the original 96. See the difference that small daily change has already made? Your body has now become used to smoking four less cigarettes per day, no sweat.

After just one month, your body will now have become accustomed to smoking only 80 cigarettes per day, instead of the original 96. Thats a vast improvement already, don’t you think? It is an inspiring improvement. So inspiring that you would feel motivated to keep up the good work.

By the end of the second month, you will only be smoking 64 cigarettes per day … and you won’t even notice that you have managed to reduce your daily ration by 32 cigarettes already. Think about it. 32 less cigarettes per day!!

By now, you would have a successful and structured plan that is working for you and taking you constructively towards your end goal.

After just six months, your body would have become used to no cigarettes at all. You would have trained your body slowly and methodically to get used to the change. At that stage, you would have permanently kicked the nasty habit. I cannot see you going back to where you were. Part of the structured daily process involves reprogramming your mind to view things like cigarettes in a negative and repulsive manner. You will then look at smokers and feel nothing, but pity for them. You won’t be able to identify with them. You will now have gone to another level in your growth and journey as a human being.

By that time, you will feel fantastic and have a lot of spare cash to spend on more deserving items. Poof, gone is the smoking habit.

Alcohol abuse can be cured in the same way. Sudden changes won’t work. Adopt slow and methodical change. Let’s say you are used to drinking a bottle of alcohol every evening. How can you bring about permanent change?


Your daily ration is 1 litre right? On the first day of change, you simply need to pour 950ml of your chosen alcohol into a container. That becomes your daily ration. You only drink those 950ml … not one drop more. After four to seven days, your daily ration changes to 900ml. Drink it … and enjoy it.

But not one drop more per day.

After eighteen weeks (if you are still alive), you will be used to only consuming 100ml of your favourite alcohol per day. Remember you used to consume 1 litre per day. You are now consuming 900ml less alcohol per day. Can you imagine how fantastic you will be feeling by then? You will be a person reborn.

After twenty weeks, you would have kicked this destructive habit. From that moment, you must make the commitment to not touch alcohol ever again. It is not serving you any constructive purpose. You don’t need it. You don’t need friends who tempt you to have a drink. Your body has become your temple. You are healthy and in control. The change has been gradual, constructive and permanent.

If you then compare old photographs to your new appearance, you will be amazed at how much younger, healthier and more vibrant you will look. That change should be all the motivation you will need to never be tempted to go back to those nasty old habits.

Remember, these changes can only be lasting if you commit to never fall back on your nasty habits again. Your mind needs to be reprogrammed to find the cigarettes and alcohol repulsive. That was exactly how I taught my body to accept less and less sugar in my coffee and tea. Today, I find the taste of sugar repulsive, because I am used to clean foods and drinks. Sudden change rarely works. Gradual changes cannot fail, if you remain committed.

It really is so simple.

Just take one step forward every single day.

Three months or six months go by so quickly. You will not believe how your life can change for the better in just three short months if you take one simple step forward every single day.

It took me six months to lose 24.5kg. The process of shedding that 24.5kg was so slow and methodical that my mind was also slowly reprogrammed. Once you gain mind control, you are set. I now look at foods in a different way than I did when I was overweight. My mind has been reprogrammed to choose foods only based on what goodness they can offer me. If they cannot offer me anything positive, I simply ignore them.

I am in charge.

I want you to be in charge too.

Nobody is going to do it for you.

It is totally up to you.


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Published by Gerhard J. Loots

I am currently completing my Bachelor of Architectural Studies through Nelson Mandela University. I am the published author of Stuttering Joe - Part 1 (Growing up in Sunny Valley). I have also recently launched my blog, called Stuttering Joe, which is based on my true life experiences, personal growth and adventures.

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