Our daily actions can make or break us. The foods we eat, our sleeping patterns, our personal hygiene, the words we use people and a multitude of other seemingly mindless choices can dramatically influence the results we experience.
Your habits affect your lifestyle, and on many levels your degree of satisfaction and freedom.
The good news is that you have the capacity to facilitate subconscious programming as a way to change the habits that do not agree with you physically, emotionally, or in any other aspect of your life. Changing any ingrained pattern — particularly something that is programmed into our neural pathways — can take some discipline and practice.
While many of us are familiar with the belief of "mind over matter," there are often psychological and physiological considerations to take into account.
The Habit Loop
A fascinating aspect of behavioral psychology is that every habit has a unique catalyst that offers a specific end result.
Regardless if they are complex or simple, habits involve a neurochemical reaction or an emotional trigger. These means that some habits can be whittled down and ultimately transformed.
In the fascinating book ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’, author Charles Duhigg explores the science of how habits are formed and how they can ultimately be rewired in our favor. Charles takes a very intriguing and comprehensive approach to the neuroscience behind what is really taking place underneath our behavior patterns.
Based on this research, the habit loop can be broken down into 3 specific aspects: cue, behavior, and reward.
Realizing Positive Changes Is Possible
In order to facilitate change, it is necessary to determine what is the initial sign of triggering a certain behavior in the first place.
For example, is loneliness the underlying reason to repeatedly visit the bar? Is fatigue causing one to consume copious amounts of caffeine? Digging deep to determine what the behavior is trying to fulfill is an integral part of the process.
Experimenting with a variety of rewards to satisfy the particular void can pinpoint specific behavior patterns. Once an individual can analyze what they perceive they are obtaining from a reward, they can explore different alternatives to meet the satisfaction of attaining it.
Recognizing Your Cues with a Plan to Respond Differently
Those who are successful in creating new, potentially healthier habits have done enough soul searching to isolate the cue that initiated their behavior. Once this is accomplished, they can take the necessary steps to respond differently. Executing habit change is much easier with a plan.
It is possible to prevent returning to the old behavior by implementing gentle reminders of your new path.
For instance, instead of promising yourself that you will start your own business one day, a better idea would include physically placing some books related to your goal on your bed with the intention of learning a couple of new terms each night before you go to sleep.
Analyze Your Routine to Determine Your Cue
Keep a journal to pinpoint what times you tend to head out for that late afternoon coffee or cigarette.
By consciously analyzing your routine, you may find some surprising patterns. This will make it easier to be aware and implement change.
Once you realize your time-frames and personal routines, you can step back and look at the larger picture. Is the cue related to low blood sugar? Hunger? Boredom? Needing to stretch your legs? Keep track of what is occurring physically, mentally and emotionally prior to the habit you wish to change.
What Exactly Is the Reward Here?
What does your routine behavior entail? Are you getting a chance to socialize while indulging in your habit? Sharing a sugary snack in the coffee room or a smoke break outside with colleagues? Are you attracted to the scenery or simply needing a mental and physical break prior to charging on with your day?
Once you discover the mural that encompasses your habit, as opposed to merely focussing on the action itself, you will be able to successfully experiment with better ways to achieve your goals.
Isolating the reward that drives you to initiate this behavior in the first place can provide you with a myriad of alternatives to experiment with.
Subconscious Mind Programming Through Powerful Rewards
Satisfying your cravings via rewards can be complex. Put on your scientist hat and devote some time to experiment on yourself.
Be patient with yourself. In order to create lasting results, you will have to get to the heart of the driving factors and what exactly feels so great about the reward you crave.
For example, you may believe that surfing your online news is due to your craving to being aware of the latest headlines; however, it may actually be a distraction from a tedious task that is truly the culprit. If you discover that you do require a little daydreaming to enhance your creativity, you may be able to incorporate more structured and productive breaks once you are honest with yourself.
The Power of Now
Let go of what hasn't worked up until this point and choose to be present. Feel positive knowing that your subconscious has the remarkable ability to be reprogrammed. New behavior patterns can take place if you are willing to do work on yourself. Change is accumulative of action; it always begins with the present moment.
Set Realistic Goals and Ride the Momentum
Saying you want to lose weight is vague and specifying 50lbs. may be daunting. Break your goals down into pieces you can digest. For example, aim to lose a few pounds a week by starting to walk after supper instead of watching TV or aim to drink a certain amount of water each day to feel hydrated, energized, and motivated. Encompassing mini goals that support your end result will lessen the chance of you being discouraged.
Embrace the Journey
Your physical, emotional and mental aspects have been communicating in old behavior for weeks, months and possibly years. Be patient and understand that even if you are a “make up your mind and do it” kind of person, subconcsious mind programming and changing habits involves understanding what drove you to instigate that behavior in the first place.
Celebrate your successes mindfully. Otherwise, you may unintentionally replace your old habit with something equally negative. Realizing the pre and post self analysis is just as vital as the habit itself. By getting familiar with each aspect of how your habits take place you can facilitate lasting, positive change!
- Positive Affirmation Meditation
- Pleasure Pain Principle – What Drives Us?
- 5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick