Change Bad Habits with Determination, A Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

By Paramahansa YoganandaThe following excerpts are from a talk given by Paramahansa Yogananda at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, on New Year’s Eve, 1934. The entire talk is published in Journey to Self-realization, Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays. (Self-Realization Fellowship, copyright©1997, Los Angeles; reprinted with permission.) For more information about the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, visit

Bad habits are the worst enemies you can have. You are punished by those habits. They make you do things you do not want to do, and leave you to suffer the consequences. You must drop bad habits and leave them behind you as you move forward. Every day should be a transition from old habits to better habits. In this coming year make a solemn resolution to keep only those habits that are for your highest good.

The best way to get rid of your undesirable tendencies is not to think about them; do not acknowledge them. Never concede that a habit has a hold on you….You must develop “won’t” habits. And stay away from those things that stimulate bad habits.

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Do not limit yourself with the narrowness of selfishness. Include others in your achievements and happiness, then you are doing the will of God. Whenever you think of yourself, think also of others. When you think of seeking peace, think of others who are in need of peace. If you do your utmost to make others happy, you will find that you are pleasing the Father.

To live in harmony, to live with strong will power to do the will of Him who sent you, is all you should be interested in. Never lose courage, and always be smiling. Have the smile of the heart and the smile of the face completely in harmony. If your body, mind, and soul register the smile of the inner consciousness of God, you can scatter smiles about you wherever you go.

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Be always with people who inspire you; surround yourself with people who lift you up. Do not let your resolutions and positive thinking be poisoned by bad company. Even if you cannot find good company to inspire you, you can find it in meditation. The best company you can have is the joy of meditation.