Changing habits is central to self improvement and personal growth of any kind. To grow and evolve - to proactively exchange the old for the new - will inevitably require changing some of our habits. On the road that stretches between what we aim for, and what we are leaving behind, that is where we make our way.
“A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.”
~Frank A. Clark
Habits are automatic. When a behavior or thought becomes habitual, we no longer need to pay conscious attention to it. It just happens.
This is both good and bad news.
The good news is that when our habits compliment our effectiveness and take us where we want to go, it is great to have our habits on auto-pilot. With good habits on our side, we're free to flow powerfully towards our objectives.
The bad news is when bad habits become entrenched. The automatic nature of habits make them tricky to change. Conscious intervention is needed. We need to take the helm and steer a fresh course. Actions and habits are the 3rd and 4th stepping stones on the path to self improvement and motivation.
Welcome to the challenge of positive change. Welcome to the challenge of changing habits.
When it comes to changing habits, our intentions are only as good as the skill we have to execute them. More often than not we don't really understand what it takes to change our habits. So we resort to force, with the end result being that we become very hard on ourselves while our habits get away scot free!
What a shame that not knowing how to break bad habits we resort to mindless effort that often leaves us worse off then before. Not only have we failed to expunge an old bad habit, but we feel bad for having failed ourselves, yet again.
Successfully changing habits means working with ourselves in skillful ways. Brut force isn't the only way. We need to work with our habits, and shape them, as we shape ourselves. Some of these self improvement techniques may help.
We easily forget the role of habits. Habits are meant to serve our being rather than subjugate it. If we have shaped a habit one way, we can re-shape it into another. Habits are under our response ability. Actions and habits are the 3rd and 4th stepping stone of out-of-the-mind self improvement and motivation.
Until now, it may have slipped our awareness that habit is completely at our command. Reading the habit manifesto can help rekindle this important awareness and empower us to pro-actively take charge of desired aspects of our lives.
Once we have regained the conviction that habits are under our sole command, to be shaped by us and nobody else, then we stand in a strong position from which to create the changes we want. We are ready to take on the challenge of subconscious change and actually step into reprogramming the mind.
If we want a bad habit evicted, we first need to find out where it lives. The home of habit is the subconscious mind (also known as the habit mind). This is the source of habitual power. The subconscious mind is where habits are created. The subconscious mind is also where habits are broken.
If changing habits is our aim, if we want to break bad habits and establish good habits in their place, the power of the subconscious mind is going to have to be successfully harnessed.
Look no further than your very own mind. The 'six mind habits we do well to manage' would be a good place to start. Habits of mind are inextricably connected to habits of action, so expect yourself not only to think differently, but also to act differently as you work through these habits in your life.
Working on changing these habits is challenging. Yet, with such powerful habitual patterns in place even a little progress goes a long way. Identify the one, or few, that are holding you back the most. Work with these.
The stronger and more skillful we become working with our habits, the more motivated we will be to make even further progress.
Habit is a power that can help build and fortify our lives. It can also weaken our lives or even destroy it. One thing is clear: the power of habit will not be ignored. We either use this power proactively, to shape our character and our lives, or we succumb to using this power reactively with unintended - and often unfortunate - consequences.
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