“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” Brian Tracy
We all have habits, some good and some bad, and for better or worse, these habits help shape who we are in life. So, let’s try unlocking the good habits and unlearning the bad.
Habits are form through practice and repetition and become deeply ingrained in our subconscious, making them difficult to unlearn. When pleasure is added to bad habits, it can be especially difficult because the brain’s dopamine (or reward system) becomes activated and makes it even more challenging to unlearn those bad habits.
Habits are merely patterns of behavior, so we need to work on strengthening and unlocking our good habits and breaking and unlearning bad habits. Let’s discuss a few steps you may want to take to help you get started.
Identify bad habits you wish to change
If we have a clear picture of what we really want, we are more likely to be successful in transforming our behavior. And write the things down you wish to change as this brings it more into consciousness.
Swap a bad habit with a good habit
It’s not easy to stop bad behavior, so instead, swap it out with positive behavior and start substituting something in its place. For example, if you love a little sweet treat at night, trade those cookies for some fruit.
Recognize your triggers
Often there are clear triggers that begin the pattern of behavior. Sometimes triggers are emotional (stress), and sometimes they are situational and environmental. If you can identify your triggers, you can avoid letting your brain go into autopilot and stop, change, and/or replace the behavior. If you have a hard time pinpointing the trigger, try working backward, and when the urge for the bad habit enters your mind, stop and see what you are doing or thinking when the pattern enters your mind.
Deal with the triggers
The key here is to map this out and come up with a positive substitute for the bad habit before the trigger has a chance to kick in. This will help you practice your willpower and empower you to forge ahead and break the larger pattern of behavior.
Don’t give up and be patient
Realize that it will take time for new patterns of behavior to replace the old brain patterns. You will most likely have many slips but be persistent and don’t give up.
Think about support and getting professional help
If you are having a hard time and tried your best, consider seeking professional support. A therapist may be able to help you find the source of your habits while providing tools for you to deal with them. A professional will not only provide support but will help hold you accountable.
Unlearning bad behaviors takes time, but it’s worth the effort. The goal is to empower yourself by taking responsibility for your life and becoming proactive by unlocking practices that will create the best possible you.
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