Ahoy and good day!
Your daily routine. You wake up, brush your teeth and get rid of that nasty tasting morning breath. Put on some clothes after throwing the PJs in the hamper and make your way into the living room. After turning on the TV, breakfast gets prepped. You open the door to the fridge and see that you’re out of eggs, milk and bacon. So you settle for that banana that is probably getting a little soft – but not so soft that you can’t munch your way through it only to have that sad feeling of ‘I’m still hungry’ crop up when you finish. After grabbing a cup of jo’ you pop a squat on the couch, open the iPad to get your daily dose of Facebook, only to realize you’re 20 minutes late for work because you hit that snooze button 3 times too many and you jet out the front door hoping to get to work on time.
Habits are created in neural pathways as a sense of ritual that help you live your life. Habit and routine comes from your body’s subconscious thought…what habits have been formed in the past that help make today a little bit easier? The consequence of habit can be traced to both positive and/or negative outcomes in the short and long term. In the above example, an extra 20 minutes of sleep feels nice in the short term (positive outcome) but can result in having to rush out the door, potentially missing breakfast and having less time in the day to accomplish what you are setting out to accomplish (negative outcomes). Your brain would rather be on autopilot than analyze some decisions you make. Each and every action, emotion and movement that you have or make each day is a result of some decision you made – no matter how big or small the habit is. It helps keep your brain from over stressing. And it makes sense – without ritual, your mind would overheat the same way a car would without radiator fluid.
Take a minute and think about one area of your health you would like to improve…Are you looking to lose 15 pounds? Are you looking to improve your strength? Improve your nutrition? The beautiful thing about habit formation is that a simple ‘aha’ moment can lead to positive change in your life. You have the power right now to change and adapt your thinking. Your mind has the ability to critically analyze your habits. Habits are not good or bad – they result in perceived positive or negative outcomes in the long term and short term. And those little habits have added up to the person you are.
Try this – take a pen and paper (or open up a new window in your computer) and jot down a few things.
Step 1: Write down the current truth in a specific area you would like to improve. Write down how it is. (My example: I spend too much time sitting on my kiester in the morning, thus wasting valuable time for learning and personal growth)
Step 2: What are the rituals that have gotten you to where you are at? (My example: Watching too much Sportscenter. Taking too long to ‘get moving’ if I don’t have something scheduled. Too much time in front of screens.)
Step 3: Write down exactly what you want to achieve. (Receive my certification through the NSCA as a ‘distinguished’ Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist)
Step 4: What are the habits that will get you there? Make a list. A ritual – something automatic and unending that you know can get you to your goal.(Spend 15 mintues each morning meditating. Eat without screen time. Receive journal articles from the NSCA in the mail each month and commit to reading one scientific journal article while I am doing my morning business and continue my work in becoming a distinguished CSCS.)
Motivation comes and goes but discipline lasts a life time.
Figure out what you want to achieve and figure out the habits that lead to negative outcomes. Replace negative outcomes with something that you know will align with your goal.
Get yourself to focus on one or two of the habits that you can improve. And start with something easy. You will gain momentum. You will feel yourself improve. As you build the good habits, you’ll feel some pain involved in keeping up with the habit…but you’ll realize there is no pain of regret. And that payoff is well worth the investment.
Discipline > Motivation
One thought on “A Guide to Conscious Habit”
Excellent Goose, I am putting this one in my reminder file, good to repeat read every once in awhile. PS. Sorry about Michigan State. KU fared a little better! >
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