“The real key is to live in an environment where the mind feels free to choose the right thing instead of being compelled by habit and inertia to choose the wrong thing.” Deepak Chopra
Most of our daily actions are a process of habit. We have routines we have learned over time and often go about them without any awareness what we are doing. I remember when my daughter was learning to drive, and she wanted to practice backing up. She asked me to just tell her what to do. I had to have her get out of the car and actually back up, so I could then explain to her how you go about backing into a parking space. I knew how to do it without thinking about the mechanics of what went into it.
The same holds true for much of our life. Have you found yourself holding your phone and not sure why you picked it up in the fist place?
Have you had a day off and found yourself driving towards work, or your kids’ school?
All these routines at some point in time were new to you. It took repeating them over and over for them to become as routine as brushing your teeth.
There is another belief that in order to replace a bad habit you must replace it with a new habit. Exactly the way you learned the bad habit from a routine. I would like to share one of mine. I love a nice cup of hot tea after my meal. At some point this became a time to also have some type of sweet treat. Then even if I was not hungry, if I get a cup of hot tea, I would find myself with a cookie, some dark chocolate or other sweet treat.
Now I am aware of this habit and seeking to be healthier and reduce the amount of sugar I consume I have been seeking a way to change this habit. My new routine is not to have my tea until I am working on my blog. The television is off I am no longer setting on the sofa under a comfy blanket. Instead my brain is sharing something I have learned, my fingers are typing away and I only take a sip of tea every few words. My second night and it is a success. Well I am on my way.
Change is hardest when you haven’t identified or answered these 5 things:
Why you are changing?
What you are willing to sacrifice in order to create the new habit?
Have you committed to the effort it will take to replace the old habit with the new?
Who are you changing for?
Have stepped back and assessed where you are and what this change in habit will create in and for your life?
Once you understand and commit to this effort you must remember it will take time. You will go back to your old routine. You will do self-bartering, therefore writing down the answers to the above will be a good reminder to yourself. Over time you will see you can replace old habits with new and better habits. The key is to put in the time, effort and work. Document your journey as this can be used as a reminder for your next habit you are looking to change.
There is a great quote that is something like “You can never touch a river in the same place” to me that is life. If is constantly flowing and changing and we tend to learn habits and repeat over and over all the while hoping, wanting and waiting for change. You know how hard it is to change our own habits why do we spend so much time thinking the world will change instead.
Our life can shift and move with the smallest shifts we make in our attitude, efforts, appreciation and awareness. What will change in your life? How has this helped you think about that change?