When weeding, we need to pull out the roots,
or the weeds will grow back.
Eradicating bad habits is the same;
remove the root, or the habit will reappear.
A person unskilled at weeding will often begin by just removing what lies above the soil: the stems and leaves. But seemingly overnight, the weeds start growing back. And so the novice gardener learns a valuable lesson: removing just the visible parts of the plant won’t eliminate it. The roots need to uncovered and dug out.
In a like manner, we often try to shed bad habits just by curtailing visible behaviors. But this leaves the underlying causes intact. Not surprisingly, as soon as we relax our guard, the bad habits resume popping up, rampant as those weeds.
To permanently eradicate bad habits, we need to destroy their roots. How?
First, we need to determine the underlying causes of the habits. Maybe selfishness? How about a lack of integrity? Laziness?
Once the causes are determined, we can eliminate them.