So, habits are pretty much the human version of automation.
You do one thing often enough, you brain will take over and start producing the most efficient results with the least amount of effort from you. You don’t have to think about it or plan for it or convince yourself to do it. One cue from the environment and you’ll slide seamlessly into action.
Like scratching an itch, you can train your mind to react in a predetermined way through repetition and consistency. Benjamin Gardner of the Health Behaviour Research Centre notes that:
“Decades of psychological research consistently show that mere repetition of a simple action in a consistent context leads, through associative learning, to the action being activated upon subsequent exposure to those contextual cues (that is, habitually). Once initiation of the action is ‘transferred’ to external cues, dependence on conscious attention or motivational processes is reduced. Therefore habits are likely to persist even after conscious motivation or interest dissipates. Habits are also cognitively efficient, because the automation of common actions frees mental resources for other tasks.”
Knowing that habit formation will cumulatively impact your life in the future, it is a worthy investment to work on building them into your daily routines.
The problem is that a lot of us try to create new habits in addition to everything that we’re already doing, which more often than not leads to a deficit in either time, energy, or other crucial resources needed to sustain these new habits.
What we can do in this case, is to exchange one established habit for a more beneficial new one; this way, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Eliminating something that’s not useful, and replacing it with a more desirable option.
The habits that you switch out don’t necessarily have to be harmful in the traditional sense either. Some habits are neutral, like spending hours in front of your television, or binge-watching a show on Netflix. And some are just routines that may have outlived their usefulness in your life. If you can identify these habits whose importance is not high enough, then you’ll have a prime piece of your life to upgrade with a new and improved routine.
This also applies when you’re trying to break a bad habit. It is important to note that all the things that we do habitually tend to fulfill a certain need, or want in our lives. The “mindless” snacking might be a result of low energy levels, hunger or boredom, or, needing comfort or feeling loved.
It therefore becomes hard to just will yourself into not eating between meals anymore. Eliminating those snacks without understanding the root cause of the problem will simply create a void that becomes harder and harder to sustain with time, which usually leaves us exactly where we started.
Hiring a health coach that specializes in behavior transformation, or helping people to shift out of old, destructive health habits will help you to discover the old destructive habits, the triggers that cause them to begin, and will help you to begin reprogramming those old habits into more positive, supportive ones.
Also, the coach will provide supportive accountability. By ourselves it’s extremely difficult to make the shift on our own. 98% of people try, and fail.
Stop failing! Get the help you need to make the change you want to make!
Contact me to find out more, or schedule a 55 minute Strategy Breakthrough call with me now!