What are habits? Habits are simply the daily decisions that we make deliberately, until, over time, we execute them unconsciously. Think about it. The time you get up, the time you go to bed, if you exercise or prefer to watch television, if you have a salad or a hamburger, how much you spend, how much you save, the number of times you check your phone and how do you deal with it?
All are actions that we take every day that, although we believe they are conscious decisions, tend to run almost automatically from our subconscious mind.
How do habits work or what causes them?
There is a problem with “habits” in general, our brains are not programmed to identify which habits are positive or negative. But once we understand this concept, we can make an objective introspection of what the positive habits are and what the negative ones are in order to try to change them.
Every action we take daily is guided by the search for some sort of pleasure or satisfaction. The detail is that when a routine is assimilated as a habit, its execution becomes almost automatic despite being harmful to our health or well-being.
We brush our teeth to feel that our mouths are clean and fresh, we work diligently to seek approval from our bosses and to achieve an increase. We do exercises to feel good and look better.
But in the same way, when we smoke it is to calm us down. When we drink or smoke is usually to be more social and when we procrastinate it is because we are bored and we choose to do something more entertaining despite the fact that there are deadlines to be met.
No matter what action we take, we are looking for that pleasure (“high”) or satisfaction.
Knowing this, you can make an objective introspection to identify what your positive and negative habits are so you can choose which ones you should modify.
Modify habits and not necessarily eradicate them
To achieve this take these 4 steps:
- Define which or which are the habits you want to change– This is easy because we usually create this famous list at the beginning of the year (hint, hint).
- Self-evaluate to find out what your reminders or triggers are – In my case, I wanted to exercise but I could not get up early because I was always tired and in the afternoons I could not because I had to dedicate time to my kids. But the real reason why I could not get up early was because I watched too many YouTube videos until midnight or way beyond! As soon as I had dinner and the kids were able to sleep, I turned on the television and off I went spending way too much time on it.
- Find the root of the reward– What exactly is leading you to commit those actions you wish to modify? I found that, like many, I watched television for entertainment and to distract myself from the day. Another example is that in his book, Mr. Duhigg, he cites that the successful AA program (Alcoholics Anonymous) has found that his patients did not drink merely to get drunk. In fact, almost nobody likes the feeling of being drunk, losing control, and having a headache or stomach the next day. Many alcoholics drink more for the social aspect, to be part of a community.
- Find a routine that brings you similar satisfaction– To alter my habit of going to bed late, I started reading as a method of training before going to sleep. This had an extremely positive effect, since not only did I get away from the blue light emitted by the electronics, which negatively impacts your sleep, and so I managed to get up in time to exercise. Likewise, the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been extremely successful because they work by teaching patients that when they feel those desires to drink they can look for communal activities that bring similar benefits. Because of this, many people replace drinking with running long distances because they have a sense of community.
There is another way to look at habits, and this goes into a deeper level where we start to see the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. When it comes to personal success, careerwise, money, and overall, your personal development.
Have you wondered why you have many of the same habits that your mother or father has? Why do you keep getting the same results over and over? Have you ever thought about there are many highly educated individuals with PhDs out there yet they find themselves broke and many times in misery?
A lot of this has to do with the paradigm we have? But what exactly is a paradigm?
You can define a paradigm as a multitude of habits. A habit is an idea that is found in the subconscious mind, something you act on without any conscious thought. Let’s learn more:
Image already added