What Is A Habit?

September 27, 2010 by
Filed under: Play by Play 

In my last blog I talked about changing habits.  As I read Self-Coaching by Joseph J. Luciani it became crystal clear that I have become quite the expert at some habits.  Some habits that people have are obvious; like over eating or smoking; but there are other habits that we all have that are impacting our lives.  In general, many of these are things that if we never changed, we could live a fairly reasonable life for the rest of our lives.  If we continue to talk meanly to ourselves about how we should be doing this or should be doing that, we will still live reasonable, secure lives.  However, if we want to achieve our dreams, if we want to take a step further towards improved lives; better financially, increased level of happiness and joy – then we could do this by taking a look at ourselves and some of these habits that are keeping us in our comfort zones.

How does a habit become a habit? 

It might help to explain the brain a bit.  There are two parts of your brain the conscious and nonconscious.  I first heard the term nonconscious reading a book by John Assaraf and Murray Smith called The Answer.  The term nonconscious is being used only to differentiate itself from the Freudian term unconscious.  Basically Freud believed that the unconscious brain had some external force causing it to do something and so to make sure that there was no confusion the cognitive theorists used nonconscious to ensure that it was not confused with Freud’s.  Today, the word unconscious is used for both.  Our nonconscious or unconscious brain is much more powerful and busy than our conscious.  The nonconscious brain controls 96-98% of perception and behavior.  96-98%!  No wonder I have had such a difficult time working to improve myself and some things around me.

Our physical and mental habits reside in our nonconscious brains; this is where accomplishments and achievements take root.  Habits are things that we have created by repeatedly doing something over and over. Thinking something over and over again becomes a habit of thought.  Constantly looking in a mirror and talking to your self about how “bad” you or something is becomes a habit.  This habit becomes an attitude or belief over time.  And then beliefs become self-fulfilling.  A belief is very powerful and we do a lot of protecting our beliefs. As we look in a mirror and the self talk chatter starts, as time moves forward and this happens every time we look into a mirror, eventually the talk that takes place is not actually heard any longer.  Suddenly you are believing you are less than perfect or unattractive,  Once this is a belief, our self care isn’t as good, our body language changes – our shoulders come forward, we don’t smile as much and generally create some truth out of what started out as very false self talk.

Wow!  So this is how things that we are working to break through and overcome have become so entrenched in ourselves that they are things that occur without our thinking about and seem so very difficult to get to.  Very difficult to see and to solve.  That – and we are working to solve the problem witho our conscious brain.  Our conscious brain is not good at modifying our habits – only at stating a goal or desire to do so.  Since habits live in our nonconscous that is where they need to be changed.

In order to become successful in our lives and in our attempts to reach dreams and goals we need to work on ourselves.  Personal development and personal growth are important to maximizing happiness.  The better people we become, the better the world can become.  Learning that we need to work at changing the habits and self limiting beliefs in order to move forward has been great information.  I do believe my work is cut out for me!

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