When Habits Become Problems, It’s Time To Act
We’re all driven by our habits. Mostly on auto-pilot, they run under the radar allowing us to use extra brain power for more important tasks. Apparently, about 40% of our behavior every day is from habits.
How we live our life today is because of habits. Our diets, our lifestyle, our happiness etc., are all a result of them. What we repeat over time forms our habits. For many of us, we’re stuck in this endless loop. Like a robot!
Imagine if we could learn to understand and control our habits. Create the habits we want and break the ones we don’t. Life would be way more interesting. Your weight wouldn’t be a problem and you could do more of the things you wanted.
I’ve recently been immersed in a book on the topic of habits by James Clear, called Atomic Habits. If you’re struggling to lose weight, or keep it off, you need this book. If you have health issues because of your eating patterns, this book is for you. For me, Atomic Habits is the best read I’ve experienced in a long, long time—for self-help that is…
Do you want to know how to form a habit?
For me, I think learning about habits and how they form was very helpful. Knowledge is power right? It certainly was for me.
“The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. Breaking it down into these fundamental parts can help us understand what a habit is, how it works, and how to improve it.”
For example, maybe you’re a seasoned coffee drinker like me. You wake up in the morning a bit dull(most mornings). That’s the cue that it’s coffee time. You start to crave caffeine. You respond by flipping the coffee maker switch. The coffee aroma permeates the house as you get ready. You crave it more and throw down your first cup of the day. You’re rewarded by the boost of energy now flowing through your body.
This sleepy feeling becomes a trigger for more caffeine cravings throughout the day. OMG! You’re hooked 😉
But, how do you break a bad habit?
Interestingly enough, forming a new habit is easier than breaking a bad one…
“All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life for a reason. In some way, these behaviors provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.”
It’s a good idea to try to substitute a bad habit with a good one. For example, if you crave smoking when you’re stressed(cue/trigger) try to put another activity there to replace lighting a cigarette. Maybe breathing exercises.
But what I think is an important first step is that you need to start “seeing” your habits. Becoming aware of the triggers, the cravings and responses. This will help you be in control more.
Self-Reflection opens your awareness & helps you gain insights
Self-reflection is an excellent way to chase these things down. What I do is keep a journal. At the end of the day, I’ll write everything the happened from when I woke up until now. Because you’re doing that from the present moment, you can start to see yourself like never before. You’ll start to have many insights into yourself. It’s a cool way to find out more about who you are and what makes you tick.