How Do Habits Hold us Back
It’s one of those things that creep up on me without realising. The days and weeks seem to fly by so fast. On balance I’d say that I’m doing ok at juggling life’s demands. I’m finding some time to do what I promised and self-develop through reading, learning, and putting some of that learning into practice. But I wonder if I achieved a step towards my dream lifestyle? Did I run the hamster wheel or make a step towards positive change?
Here I am dressed and ready to attack the day… However, I notice I’m wearing my comfy pants! I apologise for the analogy if you are diving too deep into imagining what that looks like! But the point is – isn’t it all too easy to choose the slightly washed out, slightly roomy pants that shouldn’t go with any outfit? But who cares they’re comfy! This is what we do. We opt for the comfortable route; the route we’ve always taken with tried and tested decision making, risk-free from uncomfortable situations.
For those of you who would like to stop thinking about my pants, take a moment to think about this: we are all lazy thinkers. The lazy brain is often discussed in psychological research and addressed in NLP because it’s what stops us from being more successful.
The Lazy Brain
The brain is lazy for a good reason; We have a set of neural pathways that help us store subconsciously what we know so that we can function without thinking about it. This part of our brain is where habit forms. It exists to help us function. If we had to consciously walk as if it was our first step, speak like it was our first word, and drive like it was our first lesson- to get through just one day would be too exhausting! The downside to it is that we naturally choose the easiest and most used option. We overlook opportunities that are laid before us because we do not notice.
What if while going about your day in comfy pants with autopilot switched on, you missed how fabulously peaceful and sunny that day was? And what if while being aware of the sunny day, you noticed a sign… the inspiration for a new job, a business idea, a connection you could have made with someone that could have led to a better life…
Lucky for us, all the habitual neural pathways are not completely fixed. Neuroplasticity is the ability to change neural networks in the brain through growth and reorganization.
If we want to take control of our lives, we must first be aware of our autopilot functions. We must sometimes choose to switch off the autopilot and become more aware of our experiences, enjoy them, and take something new from them.
Think about the daily actions that you take and the decisions you make. What actions are helping you, and more importantly which actions are not? What could you be doing instead? Spend some time looking for the new opportunities that already exist within the everyday surroundings that may have previously passed you by.
… Step out of your comfy pants and try something new!
It might be worth looking at how to change unwanted habits!
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