Habits

- POSTED ON: Jul 03, 2011

There are days when  I seem to lack inspiration.
Today my plan is to address the issues of Habitual Behavior,
in order to carry out the theme of my Words of Wisdom video,
and I'm just not in the mood.

 My HABIT, however, is to write here each morning,
so I'm working to follow through with my plan,
Perhaps in a "reduced capacity"
but as much as I find it possible at the moment.

Those of you who are familiar with the No S Diet principles
are also very familiar with the concept of Habit,
but I think the Habit concept is still worthy of additional thought.

A Habit is simply an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed
until it has become almost involuntary, or automatic.

Features of an automatic behavior can include:
efficiency, lack of awareness, unintentionality, and uncontrollability.

A "bad" habit is a negative behavior pattern,
and a "good" habit is a positive behavior pattern.
Ultimately Good and Bad are personal  value Judgments,
even when one is talking about Habits.

So...we don't ALL agree on whether a Habit is good or bad
....allthough, as a society in general, many people who 
have values differing from what is considered the norm,
tend to "pretend" they possess those "shared" values in order to "fit in",
and thereby make their lives less confrontational.

Most of life is habitual.
Each of us tends to do the same things we did yesterday,
the day before, and every day for the past month.
It is estimated that out of every 11,000 signals we receive
from our senses, our brains only process about 40.

 Habits, good or bad, make us who we are.
The key is in controlling them.
If we know how to change our habits,
then even a small effort can create big changes.

But before making such an effort,
each of us needs to determine for ourselves
if a change is REALLY something WE want,
or if it is something we think we SHOULD want.

Here is where our personal morality or ethics comes into play.
What makes a Habit good?
Will it really benefit me in a positive way?
And how will it do that?

It is unlikely that we will be successful in either
implementing or overturning Habits 
in order to accomplish things like an overhaul of our diet,
cutting down on TV viewing, or exercising regularly,
unless we truly believe it will result in an improved quality of life.

Re the Question: "How Do I Form A Good Habit?"
The answer is the same for both good and bad habits.
Making a good habit is the same as making a bad habit.
The brain is amoral when it comes to habits.
It does not care if it is good or bad.  All it knows is that
the habit action is routinely performed so it would benefit
from an improved neurological pathway for more efficient processing.

Creating a habit is actually easy.
All you need do to form a habit is to repeat the activity.
With enough repetitions it becomes a habit.
The more you do it after the habit is formed,
the more reinforcement you give to that habit.
and the stronger it becomes.

Scientists have come up with the following reasons
why humans stick to bad habits....
Among these reasons are:

  • Innate human defiance
  • Need for social acceptance
  • Inability to truly understand the nature of risk
  • Individualistic view of the world
  • The ability to rationalize unhealthy habits
  • Genetic predisposition to addiction.

 However....remember...
it is important to determine WHO is defining the habit as bad...or unhealthy.
Frequently it the person defining the habit is NOT the human WITH the "bad" habit.
Which, of course, IS an important issue which is often overlooked.

I've found that the less committed I am to the VALUE of a particular behavior
the less likely it is that I will ever be successful in making that behavior into a habit,
or in eliminating it as a habit. It all starts with: 
DO I REALLY WANT TO DO ... (OR NOT DO) ... THIS SPECIFIC BEHAVIOR.


Comments:
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Existing Comments:

On Jul 05, 2011 TexArk wrote:
I agree that it is certainly easier to form a habit built on a value or belief. But, you know, I think there are some good behaviors I need to make habits that never will move into automaticity. I still have to just make myself do them. My default setting is just too strong. However, that does not give me the excuse to say, "Too bad; that is just the way I am." And the more I repeat the behavior the easier it gets.


On Jul 05, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             TexArk, that is very true.


On Jul 05, 2011 TexArk wrote:
And, as you know, I like to sign off on another blog with this quote: "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." Jim Ryun


On Jul 05, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             TexArk, I do know that, and I thought of you while I was making this video.

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