We all have habits; some good, some bad, and some that just are. I always do the washing up in exactly the same order, I don’t know why I do this but in my mind it just seems like a rational thing to do. It doesn’t matter to anyone else that I do this, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter that much to me, but nonetheless it is a habit. The reason it’s a habit is because it’s something that I have repeated continually over and over again, for years. That’s the definition of a habit.
So, if our lives are made up largely by a collection of different habits that we perform in different situations then they will fall in to the three categories; good, bad, and indifferent. The indifferent ones can be ignored, and the good ones can be enjoyed, but we need to do something with the bad ones. First of all, we need to start by really knowing who we want to be in all of the situations that we’re aware of. A little bit of daydreaming is required to imagine how we want to act when certain things happen. This is easy to do, just think of a situation that doesn’t usually go that well, and think how the perfect you would perform. Run it like a film in your head, and enjoy watching yourself actually being in control for a change.
Next is the slightly harder part. You would have noticed from watching your perfect-self that you need to do things slightly differently in the future.
To explain this I will use an example. Take a person that comfort eats when things don’t go too well. Their perfect-self would probably not comfort eat when put into the situation where things have not gone too well. The initial bad habit had been formed by running a behaviour way back in the past and finding at some unconscious level that it changed the negative state to a positive state. This was then reinforced every time things did not go too well, until eventually the habit was so ingrained in the neurology that it became hard to avoid. Because that is how these things work. Human behaviour works by sending electric pulses down neural pathways, and the more you run a behaviour the bigger the pathway gets. So in order to change this behaviour you have to divert the action from the big, glowing, neon-lighted pathway in your mind that says,’EAT FOOD’. This is not easy because as soon as you light the pathway up it consumes your desire, and it becomes the itch that needs to be scratched.
By using will power, you can discipline yourself to consciously do something different and choose to ignore the craving, but this takes an inordinate amount of energy and delivers hit and miss results. The alternative is to attempt to change the neural pathways in your unconscious mind, so as to dim the lights a bit, and turn up the lights of the better direction that you want to go. This is how hypnotherapy works, and this is why it has a 95% success rate at stopping people smoking. People do not consciously think about their habits while they are acting them out, it’s only in retrospect that they look back regretfully and guiltily, wishing they didn’t do it. But if you’re serious about changing, then begin to notice what the triggers are that light up those negative, neural pathways, and then go about changing them for better ones.
We offer help at clear lantern for anyone that needs to change bad habits into good ones, and we can work face-to-face or online.