Breaking down the thinking needed to establish new habits
Yup! It’s another New Year and that means another opportunity to start some things that are new, different and good for us! It also means we consider stopping (or at least reducing) those things in life that aren’t so good for us. It all sounds so easy, except for one little detail that can be expressed in one little word: habits. Breaking old and establishing new habits is one of the hardest challenges most individuals face. This is difficult because, by definition, making and breaking habits is making and breaking instinctive behavior. The first thing we need to do is to know what to change and why. While this is an important beginning, the next step is to know how to change, and that is where our work and focus actually begins.
Every habit begins with a thought
It can be a small thought, even a passing thought. What happens is, this thought – this impression finds some kind of appealing reaction within us. It can then begin to grow. The more we entertain it, the more likely it will take up residence in our minds. The tricky thing is that this process is not necessarily a fully conscious one. Our subconscious mind can be working on something, and once it is presented to our conscious thinking it has enough appeal to be pursued.
Thoughts are directly related to beliefs
Think of it this way – when a thought is developed fully enough in our minds it then has the authority to actually change existing beliefs. This is an important transition because all habits must have belief behind them. This may sound odd, especially when it comes to bad habits. Think about it, if we absolutely know a habit is bad then why can’t we change it overnight? It doesn’t change because it is an engrained belief that has tenacious staying power! Even if we see and acknowledge that the habit is bad for us in the long run, that does not change the belief in the gratification the habit provides in the short run.
The bottom line is: habits are not only difficult to make and break, they hold our destiny in their hands. Look at the most accomplished athletes, scientists, medical professionals or musicians, and you see a combination of talent, passion and discipline. These things make that person immensely successful because they are all put into service by habitual thinking and actions. In these cases, the results of this process can bring quality and excitement to the lives of many.
Check out our December 30, 2019 podcast, “Should My Habits be Kept or Broken?” We detail the thinking and behavior aspects of habit making and breaking. Much more than that, we reveal the four other characteristics that every habit affects in our lives. Habits are powerful drivers. They can actually dictate the level of success or failure we have in every aspect of life. Find out what you can do to raise your own levels of success by raising the levels of your habits!
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