The Self Improvement Toolshop

tools to make you a better you

Are you in the Habit…

scan001323.jpg  Well I got tagged again.  The good thing is that the question is something that I know you will want to read about.  It is a question about habits.  We all have them.   We are usually not that conscious of them until they hit us in the face.  So here is the question and subject provided by Dave.

 “if you wanted to improve your life by changing a habit – how would you set about it?”

Another question that taxes my brain. 

What habit do you want to change?  Do you think that the change will improve your life? 

First you must identify one habit.  Next you must decide how important it is to change that habit.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  You must give this one thought because you have probably lived with this habit for most of your life.  You may have cursed this habit yet there it is popping up just when you do not want to deal with it.

You may even be comfortable with this habit in as much as you dislike it.  If you are choosing one you have been unable to get rid of after many attempts then pick another one.  The one you can not control has become too embedded in your life to tackle at this point.  Try to pick one that is newer and that you have not tackled.

Getting rid of  a habit is tough.  It is a struggle.  My personal technique to change a habit may sound odd but I know it works.  I have used this technique and I am amazed at the results I got.  I know other people have also used this technique and it worked for them also.

The approach involves analysis.  The approach involves really looking at this habit and becoming and being aware of it.  Most habits are unconscious.  You just engage in them without much thought.  They are automatic.

You can change/eradicate a habit that is so automatic that you can barely control yourself.  The reason you can barely control yourself is because this is the only way you know how to react.  You can rack your brain for a new reaction but none come.  You are stuck.

That is another tip/insight about habits.  You are stuck with your habit.   You feel justified in reacting a certain way.  This is a habit you are stuck with.  So how do you get unstuck? 

Back to analysis.  First review what benefit this habit gives you.  Yes, habits you do not like have a secret benefit.  The benefit is not really a benefit but you see it as one in your warped thinking process.  Maybe you feel right about and with this habit.  Feeling right and justified is a strong motivator for a habit.

Here comes the example.  My friend, Julia has a husband that she is not too enchanted with.  The habit she is stuck in is sizing up her husband.  A habit does originate with a thought. 

Of course he does not size up well.  Due to this repeated habit/thought  she really can not see her husband in any light other than “bummy.”  Why?  Because she feels she is right and justified in her thinking.  Of course there is probably some truth in her thinking but most of it is false, stuck thinking.

Why?  Just because he was “bummy” at one time or in an area does not mean he is totally “bummy” and still being “bummy”  But Julia can not see this because she got into the habit of seeing her husband as “bummy.”  That is it.

Any time we discuss this she is closed minded.  She can not break the habit of seeing her husband as “bummy.”   Any time he does something Julia does not like her habit of seeing her husband as “bummy” is reinforced.  She is actually reinforcing her habit.  She would rather be right than open minded. 

She is now in dire need of reinforcement from herself to feel right about the habit of viewing her husband as “bummy.” 

She is stuck.  Without opening her mind she will be like this for life.  This will be a lifelong habit.  This could be you.

This is why it is important to analyze the habit you have chosen.  Julia gets a big secret benefit form this habit.  She is right, she is good and she is better than her husband.  The joke is how much better is she if she is comparing herself to a “bum?'”  She has probably never thought about that.  She is not conscious and she is on automatic.  She is acting out of habit.

Suppose Julia got conscious, aware and she analyzed this habit.  She would realize that her husband is not “bummy” 24/7. Once that happens she may review any time she resorts back to thinking her husband  is “bummy” .  She will stop herself and ask, “Is this really an indication of “bummy”?”  Next she will begin to think she is overreacting.  Yes we do overact to habits.  That also reinforces them. 

Once she has decided that she is overreacting she may go back and think about other times she may have overreacted.  Then comes the concept of giving up this automatic thinking.  This is the action and concept of pausing and thinking before she reacts.  Now she is on the path to breaking this habit. 

Pausing and thinking before reacting.  What a novel thought.  Yet we all do it and do not even think about it much.  Pausing and thinking can also be a habit. One you want to keep and do more of.  When we pause and think we are conscious.  We are sane.  When we react we are not sane. 

So now Julia is joining the conscious and sane.  She is aware.  She is pausing and thinking.  She is no longer reacting.  Major progress.

From this point on it is easy to control the habit.  You understand the habit.  You know you do it.  You stop reinforcing it.  You become enlightened.  You become aware of yourself and your automatic thought process that leads you to jump to conclusions.  You are freeing yourself from a habit that does not benefit you except in a convoluted way.  You are sane. 

I know this is not the “traditional” method for changing/breaking a habit.  I also know that you have probably tried a number of techniques to break/change a habit. 

I use the word break because I know that word is appealing.  Yet the truth is you do not break or eradicate a habit.  You replace it with one that is helpful and beneficial.  You get into a new habit that serves you.  If you view your self improvement this way you will find it easier to change/replace a habit.

Be brave.  Become willing to be a better you.  Get into the habit of being conscious.  Get into the habit of pausing and thinking.  Get into the habit of making your life work for you.  Get into the habit of making your life joyous.  Get into the habit of seeing and seeking the truth about yourself.  Once you start this you will find out that you are pretty interesting and exciting to know.

If you still need more help in changing a habit get it now here.

 Marcia, Your Confidence Coach

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May 23, 2007 - Posted by | assets, change, changing a habit, choice, education, how to succeed, self improvement, success

2 Comments »

  1. I love your site!

    _____________________
    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

    Comment by Michael Tim | February 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Some great inspiration here!!!

    Comment by gurudatt | July 4, 2010 | Reply


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