Old Habits

Old Habits

Old habits often take many years to form, be kind to yourself if it takes more than a day or a week to change them.

New Year, new you, new diet, new exercise plan, new routine. This is the time of year when information appears at every turn on all the ways in which we can change. What if January is not a good month for you? That’s OK, there are 11 other months in the year. There are 365 days in every year! The best time for you to begin something new for you, is when you are ready. When we begin anything because the date on the calendar or the time on the clock tells you – this can instantly put pressure on you, causing feelings of failure if it does not begin at the designated time.

When there is something we would like to change as a habit or introduce as a new skill it is our mindset about it that determines the outcome. Check in what your thoughts are about it. Are you telling yourself you can achieve this? Our mind will believe and adapt to the information we give it. Learning a mindset where you believe you can achieve while acknowledging that some days we lapse and that’s OK. We are all human, unique, individual and by this we sometimes make mistakes.

What happens when we have the opposite to this mindset? Putting pressure on ourselves, self -judgement, self-critical of our efforts and plans. Our mind senses these negative thoughts and registers them as danger! It will signal to the body that there is a threat and this in-turn can activate our Fight or Flight response, we are then experiencing stess. In this response the mind will seek out further negatives/reasons to not continue eg: it’s too difficult, I’m not fit enough, I won’t have enough time, I will probably get interrupted anyway etc. It is important to note here this is all perfectly normal! This is know as the minds negativity bias. This in primitive terms is the minds tendency to focus on the negative as a way to keep us safe. When we are aware of the dangers/negatives we can then avoid them!

What can we do about this? Learning how to drive a car involves not just your own physical actions but also what happens as a result of them. We learn that the car slows down when our foot depresses the brake, the lights go from full to dim when we move the appropriate lever etc. Similarly learning how our mind works, the mind/body connection and how our thoughts have a physical reaction in our body all help us become more aware of ourselves. Understanding how something works makes it more tangible to put changes in place if we wish to change it. Slowing down the car involves gently depressing the break for the safety of the car and all passengers. Slowing down our physical body by resting we also need to ensure we slow down our mind, our thinking.

Learning how our mind works, how habits are physically formed in our mind, how thought patterns affect our mental & physical state & how we talk to ourselves affects our overall ability to change, succeed and grow.

Thank you for reading.