Habits Are fascinating Beasts
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.
Having tried to change my fair share of habits over the years, it is been mind-blowing as well as exciting to learn how much we can really do to finally stop doing the things that harm us and begin doing those that benefit us. Is it easy? Not really, but just to KNOW HOW is amazing. I have read dozens of books and studies in the past few years, and let me tell you it still 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 to obtain food and shelter, and how to stay away from danger. And of course, how to pass on our genes, so sex was involved, too.
We evolved to see the dangers all around us, and to assume 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 that we’re still like this? No, the amazing thing is that we now have the research to know and understand it. And most importantly, DO something about it.
Isn’t it extremely refreshing to know that it’s not some sort of flaw? That telling yourself (or having someone else tell you) to “just get over it,” or “stop thinking that way,” or any such nonsense was never going to work?
If I had the proverbial nickel for every time someone (even my beloved mom) told me to get over it, stop being so negative, get a grip, why would you think that? and on and on, I would be pretty well off. I tried and tried, and thought there was something terribly wrong with me. My LOGIC told me one thing, but my FEELINGS (as in, the actual feeling in the pit of my stomach, the incredibly scared and/or stressed feelings) told me otherwise
I just didn’t know how to change the scripts in my mind, nor did I think it was possible. Friends, this went on (and still does to some extent) for literal decades of my life.
I cannot tell you what a relief it was when I started learning this stuff. Not that I didn’t [or don’t] still worry (mostly needlessly), but at least I know I’m not doing something wrong. In fact, I’m completely normal.
Of course, here in the US, at least where I live and under my circumstances, I don’t generally have to worry about my food and shelter, or some scary animals coming after me at every turn. no, I worry about everything else, mostly stuff that will likely never happen. What a drain on my energy and my sanity.
I worry what people think of me; if I am really a good friend, wife, mother; if I’m a fraud at my job; will people really give a crap about what I think or say or write? So yeah, basically I worry about everything. All the time. It’s exhausting. Not to mention destructive.
But, it’s not like I just thought, “oh goodie, it’s not my fault,” and went on my merry way. No, I am learning ways to “train my elephant” 1 to do what I want her to do. What the heck does that mean? Stay tuned, and you’ll find out. It’s gonna be a wild ride, and your life is gonna change for the better because of it.
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.