How Habits Affect Our Lives
Considering that 40% of our daily life is automatic and habitual, we can agree that habits definitely affect our lives. Habits shape our daily lives and our daily lives shape our future. Our destiny is, in many ways, determined by our daily habits.
In Part 1 we discussed how the brain loves to make habits. Habits give the brain more processing room to recognize and handle important situations. Habits also help preserve our limited supply of willpower.
Another benefit of habits is that they comfort us. Routines (another word for habit) soothe us when we are stressed, anxious, or tired. Interestingly enough, negative emotions do not make us more likely to indulge in negative habits! Whatever habit has been established is what we fall back on. In other words, if we already have a habit of starting the morning with meditation, even when stressed, we will be more likely to depend on that habit. Conversely, if we have a habit of eating even if we’re not hungry, then when we are stressed, we’ll tend to eat.
This is because it’s not the “reward”- it’s the completion of the habit cycle that brings the comfort. This makes establishing healthy habits and replacing unhealthy ones even more important. So, how do we do that? First of all, let’s turn the focus from “us” to you.
When choosing a habit to replace or begin, pick something that matters to you. You have to care enough about changing the behavior to be willing to put the work in. Ultimately, you won’t make lasting changes if you’re doing it because you “should”. Remember, it will take attention, intention, effort, and time. You have to commit to the process. But there is a process, a way to do this, and it’s relatively simple. Not easy, but simple.
Read on to Part 3 to learn about this process.
Fact: To change an old habit, you have to replace the routine but still look forward to the same reward.
Awareness Challenge this week: As you practice a new habit make sure you keep the reward similar so you complete the habit cycle and it will likely become your new way before you know it.
Tune in next time; we’ll discuss habits part 3 to learn about this process.
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about living a healthier lifestyle, reach out to us for our professional guidance and support. Give us a call!
“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” – Erasmus
Blog Photo Credit: bookssecrets.com
Cover Photo Credit: Ardencoaching.com