Habits

Our behaviour is a result of habits and imagination. Habits are very powerful. Good habits serve us well, but bad habits can destroy our lives. If we are unhappy about some of our habits we can change them. A bad habit is changed by replacing it with a new habit. Aristotle said that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

First we form habits, then they form us. If we don’t take control of our habits, they will control us. How do we change habits? You first decide what you want to change and why you want to change it. To motivate yourself to do it, you need to have a strong desire to achieve the outcome of the new habit. Two words will do it for you, namely pain or pleasure. When the result of a habit becomes more painful than the pleasure of doing it, you are motivated to make the change.

A lady wanted to stop eating snacks in the evening. She kept putting on weight and she felt very uncomfortable about the weight gain. She then firmly decided to stop eating after her main dinner which she had between six and seven o’clock at night. Straight after this meal she would brush her teeth very thoroughly. She was now ready to go to bed concerning teeth cleaning. She found that the wonderful feeling of clean teeth made it easy for her to stop the intake of snacks. She also enjoyed the thought of having brushed the teeth.

What about glasses? Many people waste a lot of time running around looking for their glasses. That problem can simply be solved by making it a new habit to always place them in a particular spot. It takes an effort to do so, because the glasses MUST be placed there even if it is inconvenient to make the trip to that particular location. – The effort of always returning the glasses to the chosen location can be perceived as a healthy exercise. The above process can be used for many other things, such as keys etc.

What about non-supporting thoughts that have become a habit? You may have a habit of telling yourself you are a failure, that it is too hard, that no one is interested in me, I am too old, I am too fat, I am always late, etc. These negative self-talks are definitely not supporting you. When they occur, just relax and say STOP and replace them with positive thoughts (change for example “I am always late” to “I am always on time”).

Creating a new habit takes about three weeks. Make use of the word NOW, when you want to activate a new habit. Later, tomorrow, one day often means never. When you think and act NOW, you achieve results. Visualise how it will feel to achieve the result of your new habit and start RIGHT NOW! Enjoy it and have fun!

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