Habits are crucial to our success. Whether it's waking up early, going to the gym, or being on time(pet peeve, BTW.)They are a part of your personality traits and mold your character.
However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like biting your nails when you are nervous and humming songs while driving. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize quickly.
Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time, and you will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do daily, starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences, and exercise routines, are all habits.
Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors; not all of them are healthy. I am a big advocate of training your subconscious thoughts and creating habits that will help you short-term and long-term. Whether writing your goals down every day, admirations, or wearing Raise The Standard, you can stay accountable by wearing your mindset. All these things all crucial to helping create better habits. I learned this training through one of my favorite books, Think and Grow Rich By Napoleon Hill.
Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.
In this article, you will learn why it isn't easy to build new habits and how to change habits.
What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?
To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior. Hence, it's necessary to understand how habits form and why they are so difficult to get out of.
Habits form in a place that we call the subconscious mind in our brain.
Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of fast system and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part, and this is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.
The second mode is the conscious mode, where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.
A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought to it.
Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious to the subconscious, making it difficult to control.
So, the critical idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious. Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden. Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up simultaneously.
On the other hand, Hidden habits are habits that we do without realizing. These makeup most of our habits, and we wouldn't know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is actually to identify them. As they are internalized, they need attention to detail for self-identification. That's not all.
Habits can be physical, social, mental, energy-based, and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are challenging to break and what can be done about them.
Habits get engraved into our memories depending on how we think, feel, and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation, and studies have observed that various conditioning of behavior could affect habit formations.
Classical conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality. A dog that associates a ringing bell with food will begin salivating. The same external stimuli, such as the sound of church bells, can make a person want to pray.
Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit. Individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it by encouraging or discouraging an act.
Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.
What Can You Do To Change a Habit?
Sure, habits are hard to control, but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.
Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:
Identify Your Habits
As mentioned earlier, habits can be pretty subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake. Find out the Impact of Your Habit. Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress, or does it give you some pain relief?
It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could calm your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.
You don't need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.
Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.
Choose an Alternative
As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be pretty challenging to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.
If you have a habit of eating junk food at night, find something else you enjoy doing in the evening. Try going for a walk, calling a friend, reading, or researching recipes for healthy recipes. This will help keep your mind occupied. Finding a new hobby or planning evening activities can help prevent mindless late-night snacking.
Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.
Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.
Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop. If you want a better physique, print out a picture of the body you want to have and put it in your mirror. Remind yourself every morning. That's the goal; what am I doing today to get closer to it.
For example, I like making custom wallpapers that act as a mood board, which helps me visualize what I want and reminds me; Raise The Standard.
Another example to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. You would naturally feel better waking up early and doing your new hobby by continuing this.
Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking
Just as our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts to break a habit.
Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.
CEO & Founder
Raise The Standard