THE HEART OF HABIT – HOW IT ACTUALLY WORKS!!

Have you ever tried to wake up early in the morning to exercise but failed because your morning sleep was too lovely to give up? Did you want to give up eating that sinful piece of dessert every night before bed but could not because it was irresistible?

I bet we have all been in that place!

We all have always wanted to build up the good habits and drop the ones which are bad for us and given up on the trials. Was it because of lack of will power?

May be.

But one of the other main reasons could be is because we never try to understand how our mind works when trying to deal with habits.

Habits are regular practices or tendencies that are a part of our lifestyle. They are usually settled within the routine of an activity. It is surprising how over a period of time habits become a part of our functioning system and how we do them with literally little or no amount of thinking involved.

They are unthinking actions.

And, its important for us to recognize that our lives are largely determined by these factors that we never fully notice.

It’s probably your habit of munching on that high-calorie 4:00 PM snack, which isn’t letting you shed those extra kilos! Watch out!!

You know you want to make or break a habit when your existing ones create a problem, and we all have experienced how tricky it is to change them. But irrespective of the complexity of the habitual behavior it can be changed when approached the right way.

Basically, habits build out of an action that we do repeatedly. There’s a cue or a trigger that encourages us to do that action and every action has a payoff. This pay-off stimulates the further repetition of that action and this forms a cycle. Finally, the cue or trigger for the action creates craving and the craving generates a response that gives a reward.

 

This is called a Habit Loop.

Now, the most common thing we do when trying to change habits is that we focus on things that we SHOULD NOT not be doing. We set up NEGATIVE GOALS. So when think you SHOULD NOT use sugar in your food, it becomes more difficult to do so. Instead, you can associate the activities SHOULD be doing in place of the ones that you want to leave. This might help you acquire an action easily. SET UP POSITIVE GOALS, NOT NEGATIVE ONES!!

Also when we want to drop off a habit, we stop doing something at once. This might work for a few days but the craving can take over you after some time. Alternatively, we can try and replace the action of the habit we want to build in place of the habit we want to drop off.

Confusing? Here’s an example!!

Let’s say you want to stop using the phone before you go to bed and want to cultivate reading books as a habit. So what you can do is, whenever you feel the urge to get your phone before bed, grab a book you want to read. Keep doing this over a period of time, and you might both overcome your need to use the phone and also build up reading as a habit. Probably it will be a little difficult in the beginning but it might just do the trick!

Finally, all this is definitely easier said than done, but some significant amount of effort can really help you achieve your targets. I myself have seen that these mechanisms help you get on track to where you want to reach!!

Do let me know how this works for you.

See you next Sunday with a new post!! Toodles!

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2 Comments

  • Shalini Raval

    After reading this many things appear to be do able … Thanks for the awareness Hasita

    • Hasita Ivaturi

      They actually are..we just underestimate our capabilities. Thank you so much for reading through it…It motivates me to work harder and get better 🙂