I don’t believe in bad habits. Or good habits. Those are myths, impossible things.
I was guilting myself for the longest for not being able to will myself to do things (which, later I learned, was not a habit, but discipline), then I guilted myself for creating habits and losing them.
I now understand it is impossible to stick with a habit forever if you continuously grow. The nature of growth means change, and change means you can’t continue to do everything the same way. Growth means a level of discomfort is present, and you might have to modify the things you do and how you do them, which creates even more uncertainty and discomfort, which makes your needs become different from what they were.
Change is a messy thing, but we constantly change, for better or worse, so why are we expecting key aspects of our lives to remain the same when we change?
My view of things now is this:
In order to create “good” habits, I must accept that all habits are there for a reason, and put them in context.
I must separate myself from the old life that encouraged those habits since all of those habits served a purpose. Smoking? to relax. Doom-scrolling? to numb my brain and get some dopamine. There is no such thing as a bad habit, just a habit that is misunderstood.
I must place myself in the life I would like to live, and slowly introduce layers of habits - the first step is to prioritize my life aspects. Does the self come first? relationships? work? This takes multiple weeks, maybe months. I have to unravel the mess I got into.
It really depends on where I am in life - sometimes, you need a long time of just “doing something else” before you can do something new, or return to what you were doing before, without burning out.
From priorities and decisions, the rest of my lifestyle and habits stem. If I don’t schedule specific things to deal with my needs, I will develop “bad habits” again, so I must choose habits that I subjectively consider “good” to deal with those things.
After a while, I must allow things to break down, and build them up again, from the start. Everything happens in cycles.