Habits are a necessary part of our functioning, it’s our brain’s way of memorizing and repeating the things we do all the time so that we do not have to think about doing them. Things like brushing our teeth, washing dishes, etc. However, our brain does not differentiate between habits that help us and habits that hurt us.
Research has now found that our subconscious mind has already made the decision to act before our conscious mind has realized the decision has been made. You may just be heading toward the refrigerator before you even realize you have made the decision to do so.
The American Journal of Psychology defines a “habit,” as a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.
Neuroscience, has made it clear that behaviors repeated over and over form neural pathways in our brains.
The good news is something called Neuroplasticity. According to MedicineNet, Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
This means that any habit can be unlearned, right? Sounds simple. It is! Easy, not a bit.
So often we identify goals or changes we would like to make without figuring out a plan to make them happen.
Examples of key elements of plan development include:
- Identifying goals or habits
- Setting specific intentions
- Creating an action plan
- Finding ways to hold yourself accountable
- Creating a tracking system to track your progress
- Visualizing your success
- Identifying the learning from those times you “miss the mark”
- Identifying and building a support network
- Learning how mindfulness can help you achieve your goals
Learning how to develop good habits and to set small, realistic goals will help move you toward a “life by design.” A coach can support you to set “Smart” goals that are specific, meaningful, actionable, realistic and time oriented.