Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


Leave a comment

Create a new habit

Click on word search to download and print.

BY TONY WANLESS

Every new year begins with a period of dreaming that our lives will be different.

We will stop bad behaviours. We will be better people.

However, after a short time, these plans have almost completely faded away.

Why? Because changing a habit is difficult.

Habits, good or bad, are simply patterns of behaviour that have been built over time by repetition. For instance, we often eat at the same time every day.

We create habits to be short-cuts for our busy brains. When triggered, they help us perform repeated actions without our having to think about them and so save energy.

But sometimes, when patterns are very strong they become “ruts.”

Ruts once meant the deep track left by wagon wheels. Now, “being in a rut” means having a behaviour that is difficult to change.

Usually, ruts are created by bad habits. But they can also be used to build good habits.

To do so you must repeatedly perform a new behaviour in a bad behaviour’s place. This imprints the behaviour pattern in your mind.

At first this requires much attention and, and therefore, mental power. You must be constantly on guard to perform the new behaviour.

But, eventually, the new behaviour becomes the new habit.

It is a new “good” rut in place of the old one.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Read On: Change those bad habits

Read-On-word-search-bad-habits

Word Search: Change Bad Habits

BY TONY WANLESS

Do you have bad habits that you want to change?

Of course you do.

Unless you’re some kind of superhuman, you probably have several.

Bad habits are those annoying actions or thoughts you repeat regularly, even though you might not want to. They could involve the way you handle finances, your thoughts, your behaviours and interactions with other people, and many more.

These habits prevent you from being what you want to be. They cause strife in your relationships with other people. They often impact your work because they are usually the opposite of what you should be doing.

It’s only human to have bad habits. But it’s also part of being human to want to change those habits because they have a large and negative affect on your personal and your financial life. We all want to be a better person, if not for ourselves, then for those around us.

But it is difficult to change habits, because they are caused by repeating behaviours. Habits are made because your brain, which always wants to make things easier, creates a separate thought channel – a type of mental shortcut – to make a behaviour require less thought. This saves energy, or brainpower.

The more you repeat the behaviour, the stronger that separate channel becomes. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to change the habit.

But psychiatrists have some suggestions.

7 tips to change bad habits

  1. Change one habit at a time. It takes some work, and if you try doing several, you’ll probably fail. On the other hand, changing one habit usually leads to changing others.
  2. Identify the habit you want to change. You may not even be aware that you have it.
  3. Think about the habit and what good (or bad) it is doing for you. If not enough good, then you have a reason to change it.
  4. Replace the habit with a different one. You probably already know what that could be.
  5. Understand that you’ll fail or forget sometimes. Don’t give in, just do it right the next time. Eventually, it will take.
  6. It’s a good idea to keep track of your efforts to change a habit in some kind of journal. You’ll notice that you are getting better at it over time.
  7. Recognize that you CAN develop a new habit. But it will take time and some effort.

Definitions

annoying: causing irritation
strife: bitter sometimes violent conflict
impact: to have a direct effect on
channel: a way, course, or direction of thought or action

Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News