A habit is something you do over and over again, ranging from brushing your teeth, drinking that cup of tea or coffee, smoking, being negative, being positive, being rich to attracting the right partner for you. In this dimension or on planet Earth, we are creatures of conditioning, and work within the parameters of the conscious and the subconscious mind.
If this is to be understood in more detail please read my article on the truth: About the Mind
If you do not understand how the mind works, your chances of successfully kicking or adopting a new habit are slim.
Most of us wage wars within us trying to change habits, not realizing that the “war” itself becomes a habit.
If you were to look at an EEG of your brain while you enjoying that cup of tea, you would see a line of neurons lighting up in a particular pattern. Every time you drink tea, or even imagine drinking tea, the same line of neurons light up.
If you are struggling to quit caffeine, nicotine or sugar, most likely you’ve been struggling for a long time, and trust me, it’s not changing anytime soon, as the neural pathway of struggle too has been created and reinforced everyday to not only make the habit stronger but also the struggle harder.
The first and most important mistake people make is segregate habits as “good” or “bad”. I call this a mistake only because the way we approach bad and the way we approach good makes all the difference.
The minute we address a habit as bad, we start punishing ourselves for not being able to kick it, we start experiencing emotions of guilt and lack of will power. We yell at ourselves in vain as we eventually succumb and then promise to start fresh tomorrow. No prizes for guessing that the tomorrow mostly never comes.
We generate so much negativity trying to get rid of negativity that the end result is nothing but negativity.
Fortunately the good ones keep you positive which in turn will keep you healthy in the body and mind. It’s the ones you think of as “Bad” that need to be addressed.
Honestly guys… Stop punishing yourselves to rid a habit! It only makes things harder.
If you really want to kick a habit, stop fighting it!
What we need to understand is that neural pathways are neural pathways. The get formed with every thought/action and the more times it is repeated, the stronger the neural pathway gets regardless of whether it is good or bad.
Stop segregating habits into “good” and “bad”. You have free will to change what ever you like, exercise it gracefully. Be more accepting and loving towards your self.
Stop fighting to change it. As it is you have a habit to deal with, don’t make the struggle a second habit.
Always try to create a new habit to replace an old one and be gentle on your self. Aggression is the worst habit to have. All that you require to change a habit is re-wiring in the brain, retraining the pathway of the neurons to line up with something new. Most people want to see it to believe it, but the truth is that you have to believe it to see it. So believe it’s easy and it will be.
Start at the level of your thoughts, after all it is mind over matter:
For e.g.: If you want to start a habit of healthy eating, spend 30 days practicing this thought every day: “I am a healthy eater, and I love choosing foods that support my vitality”. Spend this time before you do ANY action and you will find yourself with a solid foundation from which to shift your actual behavior.
Start small, start slow.
For e.g.: If you want to start Yoga. Don’t jump into it 6 days a week at 5 am. The brain and the body like humans do not take kindly to abrupt changes in their environment. When the body is exposed to small daily changes, it gradually adjusts to those changes through a process known as adaptation. So start with twice a week and then build it from there.
If there is a physical addiction (nicotine, caffeine etc) use alternative therapies like hypnotherapy or acupuncture as they tremendously aid the process.
Whatever you do, please love yourselves through the process. Believe it’s easy and don’t stress. Know that it is you who “started” it and you who will “end” it; however it is the “journey” that truly matters. and if struggling has not given you the desired result, try something new.
Written by Sejal Vora