Doing More To Do Less
Most people have bad habits that they want to change.
A habit is an activity that we have learned to unconsciously perform. There is a process that we follow to form our habits, and it all starts with rituals.
Rituals are activities that we perform consciously because we have an emotional attachment to them in the form of pleasure. It could be anything like going for a run in a morning, practicing yoga once a week, meditation, or eating a vegan lunch to try and cut down on meat intake.
When we complete our ritual, we are present in the moment. We consciously perform the activity and then savour the sensations of pleasure and contentment after.
Over time, rituals can become routine. This means that they become part of the template plan for our day, and during the act, we run partly on autopilot. We do it because it is just what we do, it is our routine.
Routines when performed long enough will eventually become habits. Activities that we do not plan, or even consciously think about. We just do them because that is who we are.
This structure of rituals, routines and habits applies to both what we choose to do, and how we choose to think. Consider habitually putting yourself down or stroking your ego…
Making a Change
An effective way to break our bad habits and self-limiting routines, is by converting them back in to being rituals.
We call them a bad habit (bad being a negative word), because we have painful emotions either associated to the act itself or more likely, to the consequences which occur afterwards. A couple of examples are the consumption of either too much fatty/sugary foods or too much alcohol.
You call it a bad habit because you know it is self-limiting. That means that if you were actually fully conscious (focusing on the present moment rather than the past or the future) when doing it, you would have the ability to exercise your muscles of choice. To choose not to do it.
My challenge to you is to write a list of your bad habits, and write down why they are bad. Then plan exactly when you are going to do each of them this week.
Make the commitment to fully consciously binge eat, get drunk, itch your skin, pick your nose, lose money gambling, shout at the kids, stay up too late playing video games….
Are you still going to perform your ritual when the time comes? If you do, how do you feel after? Are you going to plan perform it again?
One to ponder… consciously.
Enjoy, for now.