Just because it's NOT bad for you doesn't mean it's GOOD for you!
Breaking habits... before they break you...
Addictions come in all shapes, sizes and categories. For some it's drugs, alcohol, sex or shopping. For others it could be driving the same way to work every single day, buying the same type of shoes, clothes, cars or dated the same kind of person. How do we break habits that may not be "technically" hurting us, but they aren't helping us either?
We all have habits. It could be how we wake up in the morning, how, what or if we eat breakfast. The way we get ready for work or a date. A habit is merely a regularly repeated behavior pattern or action that is repeated so often that it becomes typical. We may or may not even be aware that it's a habit.
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That's a little scary since we've all heard that it's our consistent actions (habits) that determine the paths we take in our life. So, if you aren't aware of some unhealthy or unproductive habits how do you change them? How do you even figure out what they are?
Well, just because you don't know, doesn't mean that someone else hasn't picked up on it. Ask any well meaning parent, (moms especially love to tell us), sibling, co-worker or mate what they think our habits are and be prepared to learn something new. Of course knowing is only half the battle. They don't say that "old habits die hard" for nothing.
Some habits are there for our protection, we go the same way home because we have a bad sense of direction and don't want to get lost. But, sometimes we find the greatest things when we get lost; like a really good looking single police officer to give us directions.
Some habits are created to serve as problem solving solutions. When something bad happens, our brain instantly tries to find ways to avoid the pain like eat, shop or have sex. When something good happens we want to remember that feeling and can create habits that we immediately call upon to replace any bad or painful feelings by eating shopping or having sex. See how easy it can become to form a habit that in its worse state you aren't even sure if you do it because it makes you feel good, or you feel good because you're doing it?
So, it stands to reason that the first step would be in awareness. I'll stand out on a limb here and guess that there could be a habit or two or three that you'd like to change. The experts say that you can't kick a habit only replace it. In essence you would replace a drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee @ $5 a cup, every morning habit, with drinking a cup of coffee that you make at home and going out only once a week to a different Starbucks each time habit. So, not only do you create a "save $30 a week habit". You also get a meet new people and go to different places habit. See where I'm going with this?
The best thing to do would be to write down what you want to do, be and have. Learn what qualities it takes to accomplish that goal and then create effective new habits to make it happen.
The key is to reprogram your brain to link pleasure with the new task and repeat it over and over and over again. I've also found that if you have a task that is painful but necessary, attaching a reward to it makes it easier to accomplish. I call these my painful pleasure habits...watching my recorded episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Boston Legal while walking on my treadmill.
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