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Becoming Aware Of Your Habits

In Charles Duhigg's book, The Power Of Habits, he describes habits as a way our brains perform familiar activities unconsciously so we can save energy for other tasks. Habits become so ingrained into who we are and a natural part of our day that we don't even realize we have lost control over the conscious decision to do them.

Let me break down two different habits: A positive and negative one.

Let's take making our bed in the morning, for example. This is a positive habit that we do unconsciously as soon as we get out of it. While pulling the covers up and putting pillows on the bed, we have the freedom in our mind to think of other things, mentally check off boxes in our head and create new thoughts. Well done- You are creating a tidy environment while stirring up new content for work!

A negative example would be picking at food each time you pass through the kitchen. Have you done this before? You are on the phone with your bestie and you are a pacer on the phone. Whenever you walk through the kitchen you pop into your mouth a freshly washed grape that is sitting on the counter in a bowl... or a piece of the homemade cookie you baked a couple hours ago. This hand to mouth habit is happening unconsciously while you are consciously chatting along with your friend. I have totally done this, but in my opinion this needed to stop because it was a "bad" habit!

So what do we do when we have to be aware of the unconscious- how do we do that? Well, first it is making a list of the things you would like to change in your life. Let's take losing weight for example. I want you to observe yourself closely and be very aware of each step of your day when it comes to nutrition and movement. Becoming aware of your every move will automatically turn that unconscious habit into a conscious choice- and in that moment you will be faced with a "do or don't" decision. Every time you are faced with that decision, write it down and then ask yourself a question. "Do I finish the last couple bites of my child's pb&j like I do daily... or do I throw it away?". "Wow, I can't believe I ate that whole portion every time at dinner. Do I need all of that tonight?". Once you create a tangible list of all of your habits, you can now become aware of them as the days go by. You then transform those unconscious habits into daily conscious decisions. Since it is now a decision, this choice holds more weight and you will most likely think twice before brushing the repeatitive action off that is a habit....

Unless for some reason you are scared of the change. Which that is a whole other concept ;)

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