November 19

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10 Ways To Change Unwanted Habits

By Jo Fowler

November 19, 2020

empowerment, habits, neural pathways, rewire the brain

Recently I have become aware of how when I’m having a bad day that I create and fuel my own negative cycles and unwanted habits. I will wake up feeling unrested and struggle to get the morning routine underway. My thoughts are about resistance to this daily routine that I have to do and think ‘why oh why can’t I have a day off?’. I go about my morning in a mood slump that matches my physical feelings of tiredness. This is not to say that I am a moody wotsit all morning, just that I am hiding a moody wotsit behind my outwardly projected attempt at a relatively breezy self. The issue I find is that when I talk with people, and when I go about my tasks, what I say and do is affected by the hidden morning mood monster. The day continues, and what I notice is that I feel low and when I feed that feeling, by talking without positive intention, that I feel worse!

By the end of the day I will stay up late as my tasks will have taken me longer to do, I will not have achieved what I needed to, and so I will go to bed feeling unaccomplished and tired. And so the cycle continues!

10 Ways To Change Unwanted Habits

What is clear to me is that when I feel physically run down, if I match my mood to this, it feels worse and lasts longer. So this is my habit to change, and this is how I change unwanted habits…

1. Identify The Unwanted Habit And Set A New Intention. 

The first thing to acknowledge is that you have to consciously want to change. Then identify how the change will help you, this setting of a high intention and will increase your motivation to do something different.

2. Observe The Old Habit.

Look at feelings, thoughts, and how the body is responding to the habit, and see what result you’re creating in your life. Be the witness, and be aware.

3. Shift Your Focus.

This is very important. To create a new neural pathway, you take the focus off the old habit, and then that old habit eventually falls away. When we are talking about mood and mental attitude it is important to acknowledge the feeling. Burying feelings won’t solve anything in the long run. In fact, the quicker you can acknowledge your feelings, the more effectively you can shift your focus. For example:

I acknowledge that I am feeling tired today. I will help myself to feel less tired by drinking water, taking my regular vitamins, and getting an early night. Shift: As it is a physical and emotional blocker I will find a deep breathing exercise. When I feel tired I will use this exercise to give me a burst of energy, this will make me feel charged and positive and able to go about my morning with genuine positivity. 

A shift in focus will help you identify with a higher positive intention that will be more helpful to you.

4. Use Your Imagination.

You can build new neural pathways not only with new behaviours but through imagination. Just imagine the new behaviours over and over and over. As the new behaviour will lead to a more positive experience, it becomes a welcome thought to think about experiencing the positive change. Keep repeating the new positive change in your mind so that you build new pathways and in this way, you will focus your mind and retrain your brain.

5. Stop Your Old Thought Patterns In Their Tracks.

When an old thought or impulse comes in, say to yourself “I don’t do that anymore.” Then turn your attention toward the new behaviours and neural pathways you’re building and keep on going in the right direction.

6. Use Aversion Therapy.

Aversion therapy is a type of behavioural therapy that involves repeatedly pairing an unwanted behaviour with a feeling of discomfort. Basically associating what you want with something that makes you feel disgusted so that you don’t want the nice thing anymore! This can be an incredibly useful way to break unwanted and deep-rooted habits. For thorough aversion therapy, you would require a professional. However, the principles are very much worth understanding. This works really well for addictions such as eating habits, smoking, and gambling. Skip the next example if you’re squeamish and/or want to continue to like chocolate! 

Example: If you wanted to give up chocolate and imagined your favourite chocolate bar had something very disgusting inside like spiders, bugs, worms, etc. Keep repeating the association with an unwanted feeling and you will much less likely want to eat that chocolate bar! This is how aversion therapy works.

7.  Make Sure You’re Being Specific.

When you get specific, it’s easier to build new neural pathways. You “make it official.”  Decide if you want to exercise instead of overeating or if you want to eat fruit instead of candy. Just keep focused on the new choice.  You may want to create affirmations and anchors to reinforce your choices. This can be “I’m free or “I’m in control.” Reinforce this with energy therapies like EFT or other techniques.

8. Transform The Obstacles.

Look at what’s in the way. Look at a secondary gain – what you’ve been getting out of the old habits or pathways. Now, look at the stress in your life and how you can handle it differently. Get your mind in the place of possibility. Handle the emotions and thoughts and get on a new superhighway in your mind.

9. Connect With Your Higher Source.

It is important to know that you have the power to change. Self-belief is a significant part of taking control of your life. It can sometimes feel difficult to build but it is a huge key to your future success and happiness. If self-esteem is a particular issue for you, try some meditation. Meditation is also known to higher your frequency, create positive change, and create new neural pathways.

10. Transform And Make The Shift.

In knowing that transformation is possible and that you can create new brain pathways whenever you’re ready to make the shift. You will start to feel positively empowered and ready to embrace the positive effects that will come with the change. Now take that step and change your habits for the better!

How To Change Unwanted Habits Infographic

Jo Fowler

A modern-day earthy yet entrepreneurial mum. She's evolved from a senior finance professional working 70-hour weeks to a homestay mum with big plans. Her passions are centered around coaching and self-development, and to live and prosper authentically. She is an outgoing, animal, nature, and gin-loving vegetarian. Being in a crisis is something that she knows a fair bit about... becoming a mum, and giving up her steady career, being an Autie mum - with a child on the Autism spectrum life is never dull! What keeps her sane is positive psychology, fulfilling her passions, and generally seeing the funny side with friends.

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