Creatures Of Habit
With the end of the year approaching and many people already turning their attention to next year’s goals or next year’s plan, I wanted to take a moment to think about why, for so many of us, do we fail to achieve the goals or targets we set?
What is a habit?
A habit is an action or series of actions that we perform in our subconscious. We do not have to think about them, they become autonomous, they just happen. We all have good habits and we all have bad habits but what I am focusing in on here is do our habits enhance our quality of life or detract from it? I invite you to look at your habits closely and ask yourself the same question.
Have you ever got in the car to drive and driven to the wrong place? Wondering how you didn’t recognise on the way that you were driving to the wrong destination? Or have you ever driven to or from work and not had much recollection of your journey?
Our minds become conditioned to doing things in a certain way due to the fact we do them over and over again. Not having to think about everything you do can be a great thing when it’s for simple tasks. But what about when negative actions become habits?
· Harbouring anger or jealousy for others / situations beyond our control
· Spending too much time on our mobile phones scrolling endlessly through the lives of others and letting our own lives pass us by
· Focusing our attention to the negatives in our lives and not the positives
Habits become very difficult to change.
It takes between 21-30 consecutive days to form a new habit. Meaning that the new action needs to be performed again and again, daily for up to 30 days before it is accepted into the subconscious mind and you begin to do them automatically. Until this point, it will take consistent effort and a lot of focus.
To help break a bad habit, try replacing it with a new good habit to fill the void and stop you gravitating back to the old bad habit. For example: If you are trying to adopt a new habit of exercising more, acknowledge that your mind will not be accustomed to thinking about exercise or going for that run or putting on your coat and going for a walk. Without visual reminders to do so, your old habits will slowly creep back in. Place notes to yourself in visual places to remind you and focus your attention to it. Soon enough the notes will be needed less and less and your new positive habit will be locked into the subconscious.
It is so important to make sure that you don’t beat yourself up if you have ‘failures’ every now and again as you are working on forming new habits. The most difficult aspect of forming a new habit is becoming aware of the automatic actions we do each day and making a conscious effort to change the ones that don’t help to enrich and improve the quality of our lives.
Instead of a New Year’s resolution, consider a new habit.