Habits – Are yours serving you?

We often think of habits as activities like going to the gym or brushing our teeth.  Our habits can be good for us or bad but regardless, they’re ours. They either take us closer to our goals or they drive us further away. I am not suggesting you consider changing any of your habits.  I believe we are well aware of what is helping or hampering us and it’s our personal choice concerning what we do with our time as long as we aren’t harming others.

The reason I am bringing up the topic of habits is to highlight how important a role they play in our lives and our happiness.  We are where we are today as a result of our choices and habits.  Research shows that 40-45% of our days are filled with these automatic responses or habits.  Don’t you find it surprising that almost half of our day is filled with things that we do unconsciously?

A habit is something we do automatically without any thought.  We are engaging our subconscious or the unconscious part of our brain. If we want to change any habits we have to take this idea to our conscious brain and use some judgment and reasoning power and decide if we want to continue with it or not.

Most people think of habits as something we do yet some of our most damaging habits come from inaccurate or negative thought patterns.  We actually underestimate their power and usefulness in our lives.  These are thoughts that come to mind that trigger our actions and responses. 

For Example- you have an opportunity to learn something new and your automatic thought pattern says “ it’s too complicated” so I am not going to participate.  Or other automatic responses include “ it’s too hard” or “that won’t work.” These reactions may be legitimate but if you automatically respond with the same thought pattern then it’s a habit.  You may be right or wrong but just recognize it as a habit is the first step.

Something else to consider is that many of our automatic responses whether thought patterns or behaviors is that they were formed when we were young from our experiences, environment or from what people told us. Obviously there is room for error here.  The habits you formed when you were young may have served you well years ago but they may not be working for you now.

So consider not being so quick to act.  Take some time to assess what you’re thinking or doing throughout the day and ask yourself is this working for me?   If you perform these quick assessments daily you may find some areas you want to improve or habits that you should change.

As in the picture above I know working out is good for me.  It keeps me strong and healthy and is a necessary activity to keep my stress levels under control. But like everyone else I am sure I have some habits that I have outgrown or that no longer serve me. I certainly intend to pay more attention to my how I spend my time during the day.

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