Welcome New Habits, Bye Bye Old Habits

Good habits and process compound. If you were to seek results, it’s the quickest path to lose sight of the goal, lose motivation. Especially when things are not as smooth flowing as per your expectations.

Most of us either overestimate or underestimate our abilities. It is better to underestimate as that keeps you in constant check to improve every day and focus on the process. We overestimate our abilities/capabilities due to one of the following: lack of knowledge, not enough experience, and overconfidence.

It takes time, consistency, and persistent effort with discipline to patch up routines, process; creating learning loops that put you on the path of incremental progress.

From my past experiences, habits you want to eliminate require a minimum 3 months to get rid of. This being the tough period which requires many other aspects such as replacing those habits with new habits, creating new interests or hobbies. Furthermore, getting rid of bad habits successfully also means knowing yourself and the cues that can trigger those habits to resurface. E.g. the place, the people, time of the day but more than these factors if you can recognise the cue that your hippocampus signals to your emotions and thoughts for the cravings is the first step in not falling back into the old habits. Our reward seeking hippocampus and amygdala which triggers emotional responses play a big role in emotional arousals, cravings etc. Ultimately, as a responsible individual, you should learn to not point fingers and find reasons as to why you fall back into the old habits, and instead, take responsibility for your actions. You control your actions, you are given the choices whether to perform those actions or not, whatever they may be. Here, of course I am talking about the things that are under our control and things we can influence.

The 2nd step would be changing your thoughts about those emotions, and those changed thoughts should propel you to take action that stops the bad habits from coming back. For example, if I crave unhealthy food, I will usually feel hungry too. How then, do I stop myself from eating unhealthy food? I may tell myself, that what I really need instead is water or a healthy sweet. Most of the time when we are hungry, what we really need is water. Once I change that feeling with a thought, then it is followed by the action. In doing so successfully each time, I could essentially train myself to recognise these triggers and create a process thereby which, I can stop the cravings for unhealthy food. Doing it over and over and through repetition of a minimum three months from my experience, it is possible to train ourselves to completely overcome a bad habit. An alternative to this step can be, action preceding thoughts and what we think about our emotions. Actions therefore lead and mind follows. You can tailor it for yourself and see what works best for you. I being, more a cognitive type, use the former approach more but obviously it’s a mix of the two, because a lot of the times actions provide the opportunity to reflect and then, they can be tweaked, improved and/or replaced with something different. Important point being we don’t know until we try change.

Over a period of time, even if you don’t reach your desired outcome, the progress and improving process will definitely be noticeable, so long as you are doing something right, using expert advice/help and taking help and support from those around you. This is just a moment of self-reflection for me personally, by writing this down, I am trying to peek into my own mind as if I were looking at myself as my own student. haha this is what solitude leads to… you become your own teacher, you become your own student, you become curious about different emotion, you have thoughts about those emotions and then you try dissect them, improve on them, think and reflect. Writing this out seems a bit hilarious but fun at the same time. Thank you Lockdown haha

I will keep this short and sweet and not jumble it up too much as this is not an expert advice, just a moment of self-reflection.