My dog Lucky looks at me with intense focus. He noses into my space. He puts his foot up on the sofa, which is forbidden in my house.
He gets a rebuke. I push his foot off the sofa and tell him he’s being a nuisance.
What does he hear? The same thing Charlie Brown heard when the adults in his world spoke. “Wah wah, wa wah, wah, wah.”
Lucky doesn’t think about why he breaks the rules; he just knows that it works, because a significant proportion of the times he tries it, I get up and let him out. Or I give him a treat to get him to leave me alone. Or I go out and throw the Frisbee.
He’s got me trained.
Your worst habits work. They satisfy some lack or desire in you. The trick is to figure out what reward is conditioning the bad habit, then remove it.
Lucky has no ability to voluntarily modify his behaviors, because he has no control over his incentives.