Changing habits of the mind is central to inspired life change, personal growth and self-development. To grow and evolve - to proactively step into the changes you want - will inevitably require habit change. On the road stretching between what you aim for, and what you choose to leave behind - you make your 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 behavior or thinking becomes habitual you no longer need to invest it with conscious attention. Habits simply happen; taking place all on their own.
This is great news. And not so great news too...
On the upside, once habits of the mind are propelling you in the direction you want to go, it's great to have the auto-pilot function of habit. You can kick back, relax and let your habits work to change your life.
You took the time to care for your habits and now your habits are taking care of you. Thus taken care of, your attention and energies are free to be focused elsewhere.
The downside of the auto-pilot function of mind habits is the flip side of the above. Once bad habits become automated, they become tricky to change. This is when you need to take yourself in hand and turn your attention to changing your habits.
This will require energy and focus. Thinking in terms of changing your life one day at a time is a powerful mindset to adopt. Changing habits is best regarded within the context of a whole life, instead of thinking of it as an isolated, one-off event.
Welcome to the challenge of positive life change. Welcome to the challenge of changing habits.
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When it comes to habit change - intentions are one thing and execution quite another. Why do we so often fail to change habits?
More often than not we don't really understand what it takes to change our habits. We think in terms of brute force - using willpower alone to see us through. We think that if we have an intention to change - then all we need to do is to push, push, push while keeping that intention in mind.
Smart? Not really.
What of our very real resistance to change? What of our subconscious mind power still pulling us in the direction of our old habits?
But we love a challenge don't we?
'We've got this!'
How often does the above 'strategy' work for you? How effective has it been? At the end of the day that's what really counts, doesn't it? You want the inspired life change in hand - not as just another chalked-up attempt on your calendar, right?
Don't get me wrong. Willpower is important. It's the beginning - it takes you that crucial first step of the way. Yet, when it comes to execution vs. intention what's more important - skill or will? How skilled are we at changing habits? Do we even know what skills may be involved?
Being normally unskilled at changing habits we naturally resort to willpower - becoming very hard on ourselves while our habits get off scot-free! With this approach, not only do we often fail to expunge an old bad habit, but we beat ourselves down in the process.
If only we knew how to break bad habits the smart way. How might that change things?
We easily forget the role of habits as servants in our lives. Instead of being served by our habits, we end up feeling subjugated by them. Yet who is really in charge?
Until now, it may have slipped your awareness that habit is completely at your command. The habit manifesto will help remind you not only of the power of habit, but also the power you have over habit.
If you're setting out to change a habit, then you're setting out to reprogram your subconscious mind (also known as the seat of habit or habit mind). That's what changing habits is - a simple reprogramming of the subconscious mind. And yes, we can be willful about it or we can be skillful about it as previously discussed above.
Once you've regained the conviction that habits are under your sole command, to be shaped by you and nobody else, then you stand in a strong position from which to create the changes you want. You're ready to take on the challenge of subconscious change. Ten steps to reprogramming the subconscious mind can help.
Look no further than your very own mind. Working to change habits of the mind is fundamental to almost any inspired life change you'll want to make. In particular, there are six mind habits that can - and will - stop you if you let them.
The six mind habits we do well to master are as follows...
Clinging To Your Comfort Zone
The Fear of Fear
Comparing Yourself to Others
Catastrophizing and Other Black & White Thinking
Perfectionism and Procrastination
Changing habits of mind is a challenge. Yet, it's challenge more than worthwhile taking on.
There's a direct connection between habits of mind and any other habits we may want to change. Whether you want to develop a physical habit of exercise, healthy eating or waking up early for example - you'll need to overcome the mind habits of seeking comfort, procrastination and perfectionism.
Aiming to develop inner-strength and the habit of a positive attitude in life, you'll need to work on minimizing black and white thinking, catastrophizing, comparing yourself unfavorably with others and fearing your own mind.
Mind habits are at the root of all good habits you may want to cultivate and bad habits you may want to change.
With such powerful habits of mind, even a little progress goes a long way. Identify the one mind habit, or few, that are holding you back the most. Begin there. Incorporate mastery of other habits of mind as you progress on your way.
If you care to explore what lies beyond mind habits, here are three life changing habits to take you there.
Habit is powerful. We can use it to help build and fortify our lives; or left to its own devices it may very well weaken or even destroy us. One thing is certain: the power of habit won't be ignored. We either use this power proactively to take us where we want to go; or we default into using this power reactively, with unintended and often unfortunate consequences.
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