In May’s bookclub book, The Power of Habit – we’ve been talking a bit about why we do what we do – how to understand our habits (good or bad) and how to use that part of our brain as a way to strengthen our lives instead of being controlled by them.
Otherwise, feel free to jump in to this conversation and share what your thoughts were below.
Discussion: Controlling Your Habits… Is It Possible?
By learning how habits work, and breaking them down into separate components, you gain the power to change them and turn them into something more desirable. The trick to changing a habit is to alter the routine or behavior that comes after the prompt and before the reward. The habit is already there in your head, and it’s not going anywhere, but you can change the path it takes from the beginning to the end.
First you need to pay close attention to what is occurring before your habitual behavior begins. What is it that makes you sit down and watch television? Is it because you are bored? Okay, so boredom is the trigger, and now you need to figure out the reward. For some habits the reward may take a few days to uncover, but in this case perhaps diversion is the reward.
So, if instead of finding your entertainment on the television, you decide you want to exercise, you need to find a way to make exercise entertaining. A good way to do this is to exercise with friends, join a class, or perhaps create a playlist of great music to make it enjoyable. Try a few different things, and see what works for you.
It is not always easy to pick up on what is triggering the behavior you wish to change, and you might not always get it right the first time. That’s okay. The point is to keep trying because that is the only way to make a difference. Change usually doesn’t happen right away, and bad habits are very easy to fall back into. Controlling habits is hard but rewarding work.