Change Your Habits.

If you ask most people if they are a creature of habit, many will say, “Yes”, but some will say, “Absolutely not.” These “Absolutely not.” people are not deliberately telling an untruth, but research (Wood. W. 2019) has shown that neurologically we all have habits, and we all use them all the time, intentionally and below our awareness. 

We may have developed some of these habits consciously, but most of these habits have crept up on us via our experiences and conditioning.

Existing good habits may include saying, “Thank you”, locking the doors at night, kissing your loved ones, not snacking, planning, and completing tasks. Existing good and bad habits are subjective, but these bad habits can be removed, and good habits can replace them.

There are the dreaded ‘desired’ but not yet achieved habits, which can include exercise more, eat less, go to bed on time, socialise more, be tidier, spend less money, be more acceptant of others etc... These are ‘dreaded’ desires because historically people have commonly thought that these ‘desired’ habits are often difficult to start and even more difficult to maintain. This is not the case, and a leopard can change its spots.

We all have hereditary and genetically innate foundations, but this ‘hardwiring’ is not that huge regarding developing who we ultimately become, in fact it is our conditioning as we grow that is dominant in forming our habits.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagining (FMRI) scans can tell us a lot about what happens when we change from a bad habit to a good habit and recent research has shown what happens is relatively simple. In theory its easily explained, we close neurological pathways which transmit bad habits and open the neurological pathways which transmit good habits.

That sounds easy and, in some ways, it is not complicated, but it takes time, patience and persistence. Repeat something 66 times for 66 days and a neurological pathway opens, and a new habit opens. Some people use the 1% rule, so they repeat things 100 times.

People often say, “I just don’t have the discipline or willpower.” The new scientific proof aided by FMRI scans no longer allows this excuse because we can train ourselves by changing habits to develop discipline and willpower and resilience and even optimism.

I ask my client, start slowly with very small and achievable goals and targets, change one or two things at a time. Trying to change everything all at once might seem tempting, but it will almost certainly fail. Do not worry if you occasionally slip up, it is all part of the process. Believe in the process of being able to change habits, it has been methodically proven to be realistic and effective.

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