Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
This topic needs to be discussed, starting with the formulation of the concept of "bad habit". In our society, there is an opinion that it is usually about smoking and drinking alcohol (immoderate libation). But now I propose a broader view. Let us consider all activities that distance a person from the realization of his mission a bad habit. Here are examples of "harmful" hobbies that often take the vitality, but are not considered bad habits: video games, social networks, entertaining TV shows, gambling, and sedatives. If a young man sometimes launches a prefix to kill virtual monsters, this is not a reason to worry. The problems begin when he is no longer interested in anything when the only thing that makes his eyes light up is game worlds filled with avatars and other characters. Or, for example, when a girl periodically communicates with friends in social networks, there is nothing to worry about it . But if she, barely awake, reaches for the gadget to watch updates with sleepy eyes, this is an occasion to think about a bad habit. Most of what you do every day is based on habits: the way you get together in the morning, the route you take to and from office, and the same products that you buy on the way home.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Habits give life a structure. They provide stability (Dispenza & Amen, 2015). They help focus on important things. Thanks to the autopilot mode, the world continues to rotate. And only when you begin to engage in self-destruction on the machine, you need to fight this habit. Of course, this is difficult, and there is a reason for this. Researchers have found that patterns of neurons from around repetitive behavior, and the more often you do something, the stronger those neural connections become.
Fighting a bad habit, you are trying to change the scheme of your brain. But the brain loves patterns that require far less mental energy than critical thinking or conscious decision-making, so it struggles with the prospect of change. Most people know that bad habits are bad, but this knowledge is usually not enough to refuse to smoke another cigarette or to not put off the laborious work until the day before the deadline. This is cognitive dissonance. (Brewer, 2019)
A South African researcher, anthropologist Alan Barnard, who studies how and why we make decisions, says that contrary to popular belief, bad habits are not established because of ignorance. "We assume that the reason is ignorance, and the way to correct you is to say how bad this habit is for you or how good your life is without it," he says (O'Connor, 1999). But if ignorance were indeed a driving force, people would quit bad habits immediately after receiving information about them However, more often they resist this knowledge, focusing on the benefits that the practice gives (relieving stress by smoking, the free time you are currently getting, procrastinating) or the negative that will bring it down (discomfort from a lack of nicotine, disappointment due to the cancellation of some plans to do tasks from the to-do list). If you know that something is wrong for your health, but you come up with reasons to keep doing it, it's classic cognitive dissonance, says Barnard.
To rid the brain of this pattern, find a way to bring your behavior back into balance with beliefs. One tactic that can help is to analyze the pros and cons of maintaining a habit, debunking erroneous judgments that make you cling to it. Take procrastination: yes, it would be more fun to go to dinner tonight and postpone sending emails, and you hate the feeling that you had to abandon your plans. On the other hand, you did this before, and almost always forgot about some of them, and then missed the deadline.
Brewer, J. A simple way to break a bad habit. TED. https://www.ted.com/talks/judson_brewer_a_simple_way_to_break_a_bad_habit?language=en. Accessed 20 November 2019
Dispenza, J., & Amen, D. G. (2015). Breaking the habit of being yourself: how to lose your
mind and create a new one. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.
O'Connor, F. (1999). Habit of being. Amazon. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. https://www.amazon.com/Habit-Being-Letters-Flannery-OConnor/dp/0374521042. Accessed 20 November 2019
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