Most of us will admit to having a habit or two. You may even admit to having more than that. How often have you heard someone referring to you as a 'creature of habit'? Like it or not, as humans we ARE ALL creatures of habit. However, whether those habits are good or bad for us—and whether those habits are completely unconscious or purposely planned is largely within our control. Learning what habits are and how they are created is an important step in creating a happy and meaningful life. ⠀
According to a Charles Duhigg - 'habits aren't destiny, even once they are rooted in our minds. We can choose our habits, once we know how'.
All habits can be ignored, changed or replaced. But the only way to do it is to really understand the habit loop. Duhigg talks about three-step loop:
- First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.
- Then there is the routine, which can be physical, mental or emotional.
- Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
Over time, this loop: cue, routine, reward, cue, routine, reward... - becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. Therefore, unless you find new routines — the pattern will unfold automatically.
Habits are not the bad guy!! We think they are, but a good, nurturing and loving habit can be extremely beneficial. They fulfil a very important role in our lives. However, if follow the usual automatic processes of our lives without taking the time and energy to analyze between those that serve us, and those that work against us—we are slaves to our habits. ⠀
So set new habitual routines that help us to create the kind of life we say we want to live. Habits then, become our friend and lead to living happier and more meaningful life.
Handstand pictures by Siobhan Diamond Photography