Ditch bad habits, and cultivate healthy ones: Hack your psychology!
What habit pattern are you struggling with currently? Do you want to break an old, stubborn habit pattern or acquire a new habit? Is your mind not letting you? Let’s understand why you are held back by your mind, and how you can free yourself from the grip of your own internal resistance.
First thing first here, habits are mundane repetitive activities. They act like automatic body functions. They just happen. So even if you don’t put your mind to it or resist it, a habit will put your body in auto mode. An example would be scrolling your phone. We aren’t able to not do it, it has become so automated in our system. Getting rid of it means first we will have to bring it to our consciousness. You cannot train your mind to leave or adopt something happening unconsciously. The mind doesn’t even know about it. So, you need to first bring it to your conscious awareness.
Just think about an activity that has become habitual for you. Every time it happens, become more aware of it. Consciously think about it. For example, the next time when you pick up your phone without any reason, be more aware of it. Ask yourself questions like why did you pick it up? When was the last time you checked it? What purpose did you pick it for, and how long will that purpose take? Are you on that purpose or are you checking something else? Just keep mulling these questions. Nothing else. By doing this you bring your unconscious habitual practice into conscious awareness. Apply it to whatever habit pattern you have! You will have to repeat this practice a couple of times to bring it to your consciousness.
Similarly, if you wish to acquire a new habit, let’s say, you want to start exercising every day, instead of reading about it too much (which will actually put you more in guilt mode for not doing it), just bring in more aware thoughts to your mind. For example, if you start exercising, what activity will be your warm-up activity, which spot will you try to reduce, how will you look after reduction, how long will you practice, and all. Bring such thoughts to your awareness. Think about these more than reading others’ success stories. These will instill action in your body. You will feel like trying it.
Bringing your habit pattern to awareness is the first step toward changing it.
Now comes the second step – How to actually change it?
To implement this step, you will first have to bring in the change psychologically before imbibing it physically. Let me explain what I intend to say.
When you try to change a habit pattern, you will observe two types of thoughts running through your mind – one which motivates you to change your habit and the other which will give you all good reasons why you shouldn’t leave this habit or why you shouldn’t adopt the new one.
For example, if you want to leave a habit of telling lies, your mind will facilitate the reverse process more for you and if you ever have a self-talk that you should leave this habit, your mind will give you very strong reasons why did it acquire this habit, how it is right to survive in this cruel world and how is it keeping your life together and likewise.
The same applies when you want to adopt a new habit like let’s say of exercising. Every time you try to talk to yourself that how you need to start the regime at the earliest, your mind will facilitate sleep and dreams for you and it will convince you how you should extend your nap for another 5 minutes and how you can start it tomorrow because today you already got late by 5 minutes and likewise.
The truth is that when you self-talk, you are actually thinking two different kinds of thoughts. One in which you tell your mind what you want and the other in which your mind tells you what you should do and you listen to it and are convinced. In simple words, when you want to take action for a habit, two types of thoughts emerge – one which you generate to take action, you tell your mind. Then there are those within you that hold you back, which are your inner tendencies. These are thoughts that your mind tells you and you believe them. If you think deeply, you will realize that you obey your body and mind more than they obey you. They are in charge of what you do and not otherwise. They decide what should you do. But should that be? It is your body, your mind. Shouldn't you be deciding what the mind should think and what should the body hear and act upon?
If yes, then this is the other change you need to make within yourself. You need to command and tell, and you don't want to fall for the mental trap.
Take charge, and tell your body what to do. Instruct your mind on what to think.
Tell it that you need to acquire that new habit pattern. Don't let its storytelling convince you. Just do it! In fact, don't even leave an indication. Just do! Let the consequences hit you on your face and not in your mind. You will handle them better.
Try these for yourself and see what comes out. Try these to leave any stubborn habit or adopt a new one. Drop me a message if you get stuck somewhere in the process.
Note from the writer: Thank you for always reading through! I am highly grateful that so many of you connect with my thoughts. I am thankful that I am able to contribute to your growth journey. I am thankful to you from the bottom of my heart for creating more awareness by helping yourself.
I would also like to share that I love to write however I am not much aware of online systems. Hence, in case you wish to connect or subscribe to my content, please drop me a message at +91 9811941192 or firstname.lastname@example.org. These are my direct contact points and you can choose to draft your message in any manner :) See you after a fortnight!