To some degree, we all have addictions—negative and positive ones. Addictions are not limited to substance abuse. More subtle ones like social media or exercising can be a form of addiction. Underneath it all, those addictions and habits can be a form of a coping mechanism, a tool, if you will.

Habits, even harmful ones, may serve as a distraction. A distraction that helps us escape some uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. The trick is to have the courage to acknowledge those thoughts and feelings. A new change should fill the gap left empty by an old habit.

Like in physics, our habits follow the path of least resistance. With that in mind, our positive practices should be more effortless, and the “not so positive” ones should be hard to do.

But, it is often not enough to follow the path of least resistance. Think about the distractions, ask, “what are you running from?”

Trying to eat healthier? Have your healthy food as accessible and easy to prepare as possible. Put a bowl of fruits on your kitchen table. Put vegetables already cut and washed ready in the fridge. Make them easier to prepare. Have all the junk food thrown out or store it in the most unreachable place at home.

All good! But what if junk food was helping you coop up with hard days? Find another less harmful coping mechanism. Or have a “not so evil” treat for the bad days.

Trying to be less distracted at work? Make it hard to reach social media. Use incognito mode, so you have to log in every time. Block them altogether during focus hours.

All good! But what if these distractions are a way to procrastinate? What if it is a way for your mind to take breaks? It will be more challenging to change until you acknowledge the underlying problem.

Your habits are your life on autopilot. It is worth it to pay attention.