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We, as human beings, are a product of habits, both positive and negative. Everyone, whether we like it or not, has hundreds of patterns that are activated daily that range from taking a shower to watching a particular television show, to getting ready to work.
Every day we consciously and unconsciously we are performing habits, and whatever you call them, whether it be your routines, rituals, or behaviors, habits are a part of all of us.
Habits can be divided into three different areas. First, are those habits that we don't notice anymore because they are deeply embedded in our daily lives. These habits include brushing our teeth or tying our shoelaces.
The second kind of patterns is those that are healthy for us and that we tend to try and build upon — these kinds of habits, including eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. The third kind of habit involves those habits that are seen as unfavorable, like overspending, smoking, and procrastination.
Every January 1st, a majority of people are filled with enthusiasm for changing their lives. They hope and desire to start the new year off fresh and setting goals that will change our lives.
However, within a few weeks, we find ourselves battling the same bad habits from the previous year.
The worst part about this is that we revert back to our bad habits unknowingly and unwillingly. Over time, the ritual of setting New Year resolutions and quickly breaking those resolutions ends up disappointing use to the extent that we give up with the idea of changing our bad habits and instead choose to opt out of the yearly ritual.
Eventually, we end up with a negative connotation about change. We are made to believe that change is meant only for a few who have a lot of will power or a unique self-drive.
Unfortunately, this revelation leaves most people with questions that often go unanswered. If you find yourself in this place with lingering questions, then you can find answers here. Not only can you rest assured that you will be able to take control of your habits after reading this book, but you will also learn the necessary steps for overcoming the bad habits that are holding you back. You will gain the knowledge and tools that are needed to break the bad habits and replace them with good ones.
Since a habit is something that you acquire as a result of the influences in your life, being able to change it will require some skills. Like any other skill, it needs both effective techniques and practice to be successful. You need to equip yourself with these skills so that you can be competent enough when facing your habit. If you want to change your habits, then you have to work on developing your skills continually.
This is because your habit becomes automatic when it is practiced with consistent, repetitive patterns that are created in your mind. The only way you will be able to defeat your bad habits is by standing up and equipping yourself for the tasks.
Chapter 1 – What Are Habits?
In order for you to understand how to break your bad habits, it is essential that you first understand precisely what habits are.
According to the dictionary, a habit is a recurrent and often unconscious pattern of behavior, which is usually acquired through regular repetition.
To understand this concept, you need to know how your brain works. Your mind is created by and connected with a complex array of neurons. These neurons are fed with input from our sensory nerves and organs, which are then delivered to the brain.
These neurons are interconnected with others throughout the body and form one of the most significant frameworks of interconnected elements of the body. The brain registers, as well as maintains pathways of various neurons through the chemical impulses that it receives from the neurons. To increase cognitive ability, the brain has to keep a simple, streamlined process. This process includes setting the most used pathways as connections, which allows them to run automatically.
For example, you might find yourself in a room and can't remember what brought you there. The same applies to driving and walking. But what about bad habits?
There isn't a specific definition of bad habits. This is because a habit isn't bad or good on its own. What matters is what you do with the habit. Consider whether your habit has a positive or negative impact on your life and the life of those around you.
Asking yourself this question can help guide you in defining your habits.
A positive habit will bring you success in all areas in your life, while a bad habit is one that can ruin the success you experience in life.
A bad habit can be considered as anything that takes up your time and prevents you from achieving your immediate or long- term goals, without providing you anything in return. For example, you might have the habit of playing video games during your free time.
This could be a good or bad habit, depending on how you do it. If you usually play video games with your family, it could mean achieving your goal of spending more time with your family, making it a positive habit. However, continually playing video games by yourself every day contributes to nothing, making it a bad habit. When determining whether your habits are good or bad, you have to be honest with yourself.
Take the time to weight your habits and see if they are beneficial to you. If something hinders you from achieving your goals, define it as a bad habit, and start devising a plan to break the habit.
While you can pinpoint specific bad habits, something's you are so used to the habit that you actually don't recognize how it is affecting you. Therefore, you need to understand how you can realize your habits so that you can do something about them.
How to Recognize Your Habits
Most of us are so used to our habits that we don't actually realize that you have those habits. The first step that you need to take if you want to change your habits is being aware of which ones you have. You can't change what you don't know.
You can become aware of both your positive and negative habits by doing a self-assessment. Here are two methods that you can use to help you identify both your good and your bad habits.
Doing an internal review of your habits requires self-reflection. Self-reflection is nothing more than analyzing your daily behaviors and taking note of how they make you feel. If you always find yourself snacking on sugary foods, and feeling guilty about it each time it happens, then you've just narrowed down one of your bad behaviors.
You can also use measurement as a way to recognize your bad habits. Most of the time, we tend to lie to ourselves about our bad habits or ignore them completely. With measurement, you can quickly note your bad habits.