The Power of Habit is the amazing book I started reading, it shows how all our actions, in fact every aspect of our life is a habit. When you learn to identify the habit you have power over your actions, thoughts and life. Once you realize what your habit is, and how it is structured then you will be empowered with the knowledge to bring about a real change.
For example you want to lose weight, you have to start of with recognizing what bad habits you have cultivated and then replacing them with good habits. The catch is it’s not as simple as that, you have to understand the structure of your habits. Each habit has a ‘cue’ that sets of in motion the process or ‘routine’ upon the completion of which you get a ‘reward’. Without the reward, you would not continue the routine. Let’s analyze my habit of eating dessert after dinner, this caused me to gain weight. I knew it was a bad habit, but I just couldn’t stop myself.
Time for self analysis, so I figured that my sweet tooth was activated once I put the dishes in the dishwasher, the kids were getting ready for bed and I was going to be able to relax after a long day. My routine was that, I’d get a slice of cake, or cup of ice cream, whatever and discuss the day with my husband. That was out time together, the reward. Once I realized that I only wanted to eat, so I would sit in one place to spend some time with my husband, and not start tidying up or setting up for the next day, I switched my dessert fix for a green tea fix. WOW! It was that easy, I am now dessert free and possibly 10 lbs lighter.
There are some habits, that are called ‘keystone’ habits, and they actually then spill over into other aspects of our life.They are the most important habit we have. If we have good keystone habits, then it is easier to lead a more fulfilling life. For example, I feel that my belief in Allah/God rules all aspects of my life. Part of that belief system is that I not do anything that is not condoned by Islamic Rules. This ‘keystone habit’ of mine, my belief and habit of doing everything per God’s will, spills over to every aspect of my life. I am a better person because I know that to forgive is better than revenge, that helping others is a duty, everything should be done in moderation, my day is structured by the 5 prayers, so I must go to bed at a decent time in order to wake up at dawn. This keystone habit makes me the person I am. Identify your keystone and live by it, or change it – Alcoholics Anonymous uses their 12 step program and changes keystone habits.
Remember that habits are so powerful that large organizations like Target actually track shoppers’ habits to get them to buy more. In fact, when we are playing out the habit loop, our brain scan shows the same areas of the brain being utilized as when we do something on basic instinct like breathing, eating and so on. Beware, now you have the power to change the habits you don’t like…looking at a better you tomorrow.