Have you ever tried snapping out of a bad habit only to find yourself falling right back into it? I don’t think you should quit your bad habit entirely. That seems too much, and apparently hasn’t worked for you in the past.
I suggest you quit just for one day.
This would be manageable. I’m sure you can control yourself for a single day. Especially when you know that it isn’t forever. You can go back to your vice tomorrow. But today, just today, you are over it.
Then do the same thing again tomorrow.
And the next day.
This is an old hack to fool the Yetzer Harah – the evil urge inside us that pushes us to do the wrong thing. When you say that you are quitting forever, your evil urge fights back ferociously. But if you reassure it that you’ll be back to your devious ways tomorrow, and you’re just taking a day off, it doesn’t feel threatened and leaves you be.
After one vice-free day, you have reclaimed a tiny bit of control over your urges. Now you have your foot in the door. You are that little bit stronger, just enough to stretch it another day. And then another. And so on. Before you know it, that urge loses its hold on you. And it all started with just one clean day.
This is the meaning of what we say in the Shema prayer: “These matters I command you today.” G-d only tells us to be good today. That’s it. He never asked us to be good forever. Forever is too daunting. A day is realistic. We can handle that.
Conquer one day, and give yourself credit for doing it. Even if you fall again, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’ll live to fight another day.
Menachem Mendel Bluming taken from Tanya and many other sources