If you’ve all but given up the fight against your bad habits, there’s good news for you. No matter how old you are, or how stubborn and ingrained you believe your bad habits to be, there is hope to win the fight.
Every single day, without fail, Brenda wakes up and decides this well be the day she resists the treats in the office and eats her pre-packaged, pre-planned snack instead.
And every day, she fails. Every day! “What is wrong with me?” she cries.
There’s nothing wrong with her; she is completely normal.
There are, however, things she can do, plan, and think about to help her be more successful. It all starts with her habits.
Habits control 40 or more percent of what we do. They can move us forward, or keep us totally stuck.
Studies into habits have exploded over the past few decades; even more so in just the past 10 years.
Of particular interest are studies and experiments pointing to how our habits, good or bad, control us.
I’ve tried and failed many times to change bad habits, so it’s exciting to learn that we really can learn how to stop doing the things that harm us and begin doing those that benefit us.
Is it easy? Not really, but just knowing the possibility is remarkable.
Dozens of books and studies have been written in the past few years, and they all say it takes WORK, but at least now there’s hope.
Hope No Matter Your Age!
And I mean hope even if you’re over 50, or, yes, over 60 like I am. I have always been by nature a negative person. Did you know that all humans are, to a greater or lesser extent?
Think about it. When our brains were evolving, the main things to worry about were where finding food and shelter, and staying away from danger.
And of course, how to pass on our genes, so sex was involved, too.
We evolved seeing dangers all around us. And assuming the worst. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, “our minds did not evolve to make us ‘feel good’ so we could tell jokes, write poems, or say ‘I love you.'”
Is it any wonder so many of us have negative thoughts? No, the amazing thing is that we now have the research to know and understand it.
And most importantly, DO something about it.
It is liberating to know it’s not some sort of flaw.
It’s equally so to realize that thinking “just get over it,” or “stop thinking that way,” doesn’t work. It was never meant to!
If I had the proverbial nickel for every time someone told me to get over it, stop being so negative, get a grip, etc., I would be rich.
You try and try until you are sure there’s something terribly wrong with you. LOGIC tells you one thing, but your FEELINGS (as in, actual feelings in the pit of your stomach) tell you otherwise.
I certainly didn’t know how to change the scripts in my mind, nor did I think it was possible.
This can go on for literal decades of your life.
But what blessed relief to finally know that it is normal. Does that mean the feelings go away?
No, you’ll still worry and fret (probably mostly needlessly). But at least you know that you’re not flawed, or more importantly, alone. You are completely normal.
Here in the US where I live we don’t generally have to worry about food and shelter, or scary animals trying to eat us.
We mostly worry about everything else, usually things that won’t ever happen. What a drain on our energy and sanity.
I know I worry what people think of me; if I am really a good friend, wife, mother.
Am I just a fraud at my job; will people really give a crap about what I think or say or write?
So, basically everything. All the time. It’s exhausting. Not to mention destructive.
Then should you just think, “oh goodie, it’s not my fault,” and go on your merry way?
If only it were that easy.
But there is hope (see here), and there are many simple things you can practice to actually change your thoughts.
To decide what YOU want to think, instead of letting your primitive brain rule your life.
Yes, you’ll have to do some work, but at least you’ll finally have practical tools. And it’s not years of expensive therapy, thank goodness.
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