Breaking Bad Habits
Ever find yourself really stuck on shifting a bad habit and have no idea why? Sometimes we can know something is not serving us, we know we could be doing something more productive and in alignment with what we want our values to be. Yet, every day we do it again and again, then by the end of the day we end up so frustrated at ourselves for not doing better. I am going to give you some insight into why this keeps happening.
In a nutshell, your mind loves what is familiar and does not love what is unfamiliar. How does this work? Well, something that is familiar is something that is easy, comfortable and you have repeated to yourself again and again how much you enjoy it. Watching too much tv when you wish you were out exercising or reading a book, or out doing fulfilling hobbies? If every time you sit down on the couch and you are repeating to yourself, this is so nice, I love this, how good is it to just sit down and relax, I am so comfortable right now. You are making that habit familiar as well as an option the mind has decided is good for you because it is comfortable and easy.
Then it comes to going for a walk and you are repeating to yourself, I do not want to do this, it is too cold, my clothes feel uncomfortable, I can’t be bothered, I am too tired, I hate this. Guess what is now super unfamiliar as well as is starting to sound like a pretty big threat to your mind? That habit you are trying really hard to build. You need to start talking to your mind to make familiar the things you actually want. Repeating over and over how good it feels to keep up with those habits. I love this, this feels great, I am so happy to be doing this. Like anything you are trying to create, you do not have to believe it when you first start saying it. That is why repetition is key. Do not forget to get with the right feeling behind it too. If you try repeating these things yet on the inside you are filled with resentment and not actually onboard with the words. Those words are not going to work.
This is more than just positive thinking, it is about molding and shaping your mind to get you exactly what you want and it works when done with determination. Finding yourself struggling to make this shift, I have two hacks for you. One comes from Marisa Peer, when you are working to making your desired goals familiar with framing them positively. I want you to also repeat to yourself, “I have chosen this and I have chosen to feel great about it”. You have to be your biggest advocate. The second comes from Kerwin Rae, hating life when you are trying to make these changes and ready to give up? Give your mind a new story, “this is simple, this is easy, this is fun”. Repeat until you believe it.
If you want to create a life filled with your desires, you need to learn to hack your mind and understand you have the control. The mind believes what you tell it and you need to start telling it great things. Think about anything you want but do not have. The reason you do not have it is because somewhere you are telling yourself you do not want it and you do not want to do the work. Remember that we have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and 95% of our thoughts feelings and actions are on autopilot. Which means they are just being rinsed and repeated from the day before. This means that 95% of the time you are not even conscious of the thoughts you are repeating to yourself over and over. It is time to start being more conscious of your inner dialogue and how it is leading to your current habits and circumstances.
Make a list of anything that you want but currently do not have. Do not be shy, it can be as long as you want, the longer it is the more it is just highlighting to you and creating awareness around the fact that you have not been living true to your desires, that is okay, today is a good day to start. From that list create vivid, exciting statements that you can use to effectively dialogue with your mind in order to achieve these things. For example, “It delights me to nourish my body with healthy, nutritious food I know makes me feel good. I am so motivated and excited to prioritise the health of my body.” From that make a list of what you are now choosing to make familiar, for example, “I am choosing to make positive self-talk familiar and self-criticism unfamiliar”. This is about deciding you are the master of your mind and your life. What can you start doing this week to move closer to building the habits you want?