Hi there . Ive been playing for about 4-5 years and recently decided I wanted to change this bad habit I have. I am self taught and as such I fell into the habit of only downpicking, I only realized this was bad when I was already good at it, and for some years I chose to ignore it. Problem is, Im okay with my picking, I can play with rythm and good timing and I can play some things that are considered difficult at the same speed as I should with alternate picking (ex: Dream Theater, Racer X, Govan...etc), however I feel like if I could alternate picking I would improve even more (besides that is a widely used technique). So my question is how do you recommend me to improve my alternate picking? I included a 30-45 minutes space in my daily 3.5 hours to practice this technique, am I doing right? Do you recommed specific exercises/other times /should I continue also training the downpicking/how long do you think it will take for me to develop a solid picking?.
Thanks, and sorry for the long post and the possible grammar errors.
The exercises thread is, oddly enough, full of exercises.

Beyond that: just do it dammit.

It will take you the rest of your life to get your picking up to a standard where you're happy with it so don't worry about that, There's nothing wrong with still working with/on downpicking.
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Don't just set out part of your practice routine to apply alternate picking; completely switch to alternate picking altogether. If you continue to only downpick when you're not thinking about it, you'll make even more of a habit out of it.
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I had that same bad habit too- mostly using downpicking and never building up alternate/economy technique.

The best way to break it is to let go of it. I sat on this chair, with my headphones on, practicing scales using nothing but economy picking. Personally, I like economy picking better than alternate (it's a slight variation in that you pick in the direction that you're moving at all times). Sometimes you have to think ahead on how to start a progression in order to move efficiently.

Just sit there and play scales slowly, putting emphasis in the direction and attack angle. Do this every day and it WILL become second nature. You'll notice that you automatically do it when just messing around / improv.

It will also strengthen your fretting hand as well, improving muscle memory. My playing speed doubled in two months. I've been playing for 13 years. That's how major the improvement was.
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Use alternate picking to do all the drills you get. Then, practice songs with alternate picking. Just mess around, and use alternate picking. Soon enough, you won't have to think about it.
Same for me ... a little different.

I started with the alternate and later I started the economy, and here I'm in shit to return to strict alternate ... just do exercises using only the alternate and it is coming back.