Are we at the mercy of our habits?

While our habits sometimes perpetuate unwanted behavior (e.g. procrastination); they can on the other hand support a healthy and successful lifestyle without the need to push our will power to the limit.

Habits have the purpose to save our energy. This mechanism can be beneficial and helpful for our health and success in our lives, but it’s necessary to understand the functioning of habits beforehand.

Here you can read blog post part 1 about habits: “Habits set your course for success”

Once we decided consciously what to eat, if and how often we practice any sports, and how we organize our duties it becomes a habit and we don’t even think about it anymore. The habits are always connected to a reward, which needs to be identified. The personal benefit is not always that obvious so it might require a bit of self-observation.

Example: If you always come home from work, stressed, you compulsively start to search all drawers for chocolate or salty snacks. During periods with a lot of stress, you start to gain weight with this habit, which creates even more stress. Even though you urgently want to stop this habit, it seems to be impossible for you to leave the vicious circle.

Figuring out, what triggers the specific habit (stressful day, coming home, switching on TV) and which kind of reward is the result for you (relaxation, being kind to yourself) are important hints to assess and change habits.

A habit-diary can be a crucial help. For that purpose it is necessary to write down what you did before your habit “kicked in” (came home, switched TV on etc.), how you felt at this moment (fully exhausted, tensed, hungry) and how you feel after the usual action (relaxed but guilty).

The assessment of your habit might require some days of self-observation and a bit of patience but it will give you some worthy knowledge about yourself.

Here you are directly diverted to Part 3 about Habits: Some Habits are easier to change.

 

Photo Credit: Potatogenebrooks via VisualHunt com

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