Dear Rabbi and Susan,
Please, what can someone do to break away stubborn yokes of many years, that has defied fasting and prayers?
First of all, accept our admiration for being the rare person who evaluates himself morally and works upon himself for improvement in the eyes of our Heavenly judge. The timing of your question is fortuitous. In just about two weeks millions of Jews around the world will observe Yom Kippur, known in English as the Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is celebrated with a 25 hour fast and the day is spent in prayer. Ten days of moral introspection lead up to the climax of Yom Kippur, the day upon which we lock in our resolve to make meaningful changes in our life.
It is not a sad day, although some Jews, who have minimal knowledge of their faith, think that it is. It is a festive day. As you recognize, little makes one happier than being able to put bad traits and habits behind and move forward in a more positive direction.