Humans are a combinations of habits,some are inborn and a larger percentage are as a result of the environment we live in,friends we keep , information from the media that we expose ourselves to. While it is often stated that it takes 61 days of constantly carrying out an activity before it becomes a habit, this particular statement really carries no weight. Habit formation depends largely on will power,motivation and ambition. If one simply targets carrying out a particular habit for 61 days and then stops, believing it is now a habit, then such a person might be in for a shocker. This goes both ways for both picking up and dropping habits.
Habits are basically a result of influence, and we are constantly influenced every day by things we see and hear.Habits can only be built up if the particular source of influence for that particular habit is maintained and kept as strong as it was initially until it is not needed any more, which could be in 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or 30 years.
This singular statement categories habits into
1. Influenced habits.- which are habits that still require the particular source of influence that created them .
2.Independent habits- which are habits that are either inborn and require no direct source of influence or have become what is called "second nature', that requires little or no influence for their continuous existence.
What makes a habit bad?
A habit becomes bad if it limits the owner in fulfilling his day to day activities or achieving substantial laid down life goals, or reduces self worth, or is illegal. Habits are either good or bad,in some cases though a good habit might become bad and sometimes some bad habits might become good.
How do you overcome bad habits?
1. Eradicating the influence: The very first step of overcoming bad habits is to eradicate the influence. To eradicate the influence, you have to first identify it. Influences may come from friends, relatives , beliefs, society, past experiences and the media. The eradication of influences would be important for getting over influenced bad habits.A person might be promiscuous because of certain friendships or media exposure that constantly feeds the bad habit as an example.
|Watching the Real Housewives of everything is a bad habit |
and to eradicate the influence, this television has to go
2. Redirecting the influence:
|I am redirecting my masturbation bad habit into several push ups|
Some habits however are as a result of an indirect influence, which cannot be eradicated Such influences include past experiences or societal beliefs and values. In such cases, such influences have to be redirected.You have to understand what influences have indirectly brought about the bad habits and find a way of redirecting these influences to other new habits. So anytime you feel obligated to carry out such bad habits due to influences which cannot be directly eradicated you simply do something else. This takes self awareness and mastery. There are several cases of people who do something like cleaning or baking when they are under an uncontrollable influence to do something, they consider a bad habit such as smoking etc.
3.Training your mind.
|I am using this ball to remind myself that the earth is Spherical|
and math is just like the game of soccer.
There are still those bad habits that are second nature sans direct or indirect influence. This has to be replaced with something productive.Replacing them however should be done with something or activities that would totally keep your mind off it. It requires constant training done by trial and error, it is a process that you have to be aware of and keep milestones and focus. Use paper tags to remind you of it, make yourself aware of the benefits you stand to gain from getting over that bad habit.
4. Releasing the Guilt and shame:
|Oh please! I would not wet myself again because i am now 21|
Without this singular act of releasing any form of guilt and shame associated with the bad habit, you might never get over them. In the process of getting over bad habits, there are days you might fail, there are days you might take steps backward but the cliche is to worry yourself about it and fill yourself with remorse. This is dangerous, as the remorse sends a message of justification and vindication to your subconscious. When you find yourself at high temptation periods where you are under a strong influence to carry out your bad habit, your subconscious assures you that you are going to feel remorse after the act , so you can go ahead and do it. So the remorse would let you feel content and you would continue in the cycle. When you fall, get up, don't fret, tell yourself you are on a process and though it takes time, you would make it,because you can.
5. Weighing your Options:
Steven Aitchison said that" people never really change, they only change when the option of not changing far outweighs the options of remaining the same. In which case, " if i don't stop cheating, i would lose my beautiful marriage"," if i don't stop overeating, i would have a weight related disease", "if i don't stop smoking, this lung cancer would kill me'." if i don't change my attitude, i would lose my job". When your subconsious fully realises this, then change is inevitable. The influences would be erradicted, redirected and the mind would be well trained. WIthout that, the bad habit might successfully recede only to pop up someday based on favourable situations and circumstances.
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