Why ALL Your Habits Are Hypnosis In Action
“You first make your habits, then your habits make you. You become a slave to your constantly repeated acts. What at first you choose, at last, compels.”
Our habits are built over a lifetime of reacting to ‘cues’ in our lives. These cues are both internal and external. We become like Pavlov’s dog – we hear the bell, and then we salivate. We aren’t *choosing* our responses anymore. And yet – we wonder why our lives aren’t headed in the direction of our dreams. Breaking our patterns of thought and action can be emotionally difficult. Our habits are typically a reflection of who we believe we are or what we believe we deserve. Self-sabotaging thoughts are behaviors, then, are more a result of mindless habits than conscious thought. Believe it or not, you become emotionally attached to your habits – whether you like those habits or not.
To break the cycle of the habits that keep us from living our best life, we have to *CHOOSE* to become conscious of ourselves, which can be uncomfortable. Yet – in my opinion – if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. Changing your habits begins with seeing the patterns of behavior in which you’re engaging. (Charles Duhigg has done some remarkable work in this area) Whether the result is overindulgence in food, alcohol, sex, drugs or whatever (short of a clinical addiction), or if you’re engaging in a relationship or career sabotage, it all starts with *patterns* of behavior. It’s these patterns that need to be identified and reworked.
You can begin by thinking about what OUTCOMES you are most unhappy with and doing some detective work to see what patterns of behavior are supporting/creating these circumstances. You’re going to need to look at two major areas: patterns of thought and patterns of action. Within your patterns of action, you’re going to need to watch your patterns of communication (what you’re saying), patterns of behavior (what you’re doing) and patterns of time management (where you’re spending your energy).
“Habits can be the best of servants or the worst of masters.”
Once you begin to see how the patterns in your life are playing out in your decisions, drive, and direction, you’ll understand the role they play in determining your destiny.
Patterns to Watch:
Communication: Specifically, how well are you at verbalizing difficult messages or communicating effectively when you are stressed or upset? Are you avoiding sharing your thoughts, or are you ‘over-sharing’? Do you find that people often misunderstand what you’re saying?
Behavior: How emotionally intelligent are you? Are you addicted to toxic relationships or are you the toxic friend? Do you engage in passive-aggressive behaviors? Do you feel like a ‘fraud’ because you’re acting like you *think* you should, vs. how you really feel?
Time Management: How effective are you at prioritizing what matters in your life? Do you put yourself first, last or somewhere in between? How disciplined are you? Are you able to make yourself focus on tasks, even if you don’t want to do them?
Gretchen Ruben wrote, “Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives. We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”
Changing your life really comes down to identifying and changing your habits. Begin with small, easy-to-manage changes, and as you begin to reap the rewards of those efforts, you can move to larger, more impactful ones. The bottom line is: What are you willing to think differently about?
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