At least forty percent of what we do and say occurs out of habit. That’s a good thing. It frees us up to use more of our energy for other things. For example: When you’re walking, are you continually thinking about how to walk? Ok, let’s see, I have to put my right foot forward, then the left and not fall down, ok I can do this if I just concentrate hard enough. No, we don’t have to do that anymore, as we did when we were toddlers. We turned it into a habit. While we’re walking, we can think about what we’re doing that day or how to solve a problem.
Physical habits are not the only area in which we develop repeated behaviors. Our thinking is on auto-pilot, too. Which is why it’s so important to be intentional with how we function in the world. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a positive and a negative thought. It just thinks what you tell it to. However, your prefrontal cortex, or your conscious mind, does know the difference, if we will only pay closer attention to it and not let the auto-pilot run the show unchecked.
Once we form a habit, the prefrontal cortex, which is the judgment center, doesn’t engage anymore. So if we want to form or break a habit, we have to work at it. The first time you do something is usually the hardest. Then when you do it again, it becomes easier and if you repeat it multiple times, it will form into a habit. I had a teacher once to referred to it as “building technique”. I like that!
The problem comes in when you build a technique for something that’s destructive to you or others or both. Then you have to go in and “break” the habit. The good news is – the brain is malleable . You can unwire the habitual neurotransmitters by discontinuing the habit and/or replacing it with another, better habit. The strong signals of the undesired habit will weaken with neglect and you can free yourself from modes of being and thinking that no longer serve you.
Create new and productive habits and let them propel you forward into the best you!