How To Change Your Habits

Today I’d like to discuss one of the most important determinants of our success in life: our habits. Our habits are crucial to all aspects of our lives including our health, our relationships, our careers, our finances and any other area you can imagine. 

If you look at just one of these areas, for example our health, you’ll find that a lot of our chronic health issues are rooted in poor habits such as smoking, poor nutrition, drinking alcohol to excess and not getting enough sleep. The problem is changing these habits.

The way most people try to change their habits is through motivation and willpower but these methods are rarely successful. I know from trying to get my patients to quit smoking. The reason that these methods are not successful is because our habits are programmed into our subconscious mind which is conditioned from early childhood. 

The subconscious mind is that aspect of our mind which is responsible for all the behaviours and actions that we do that we don’t have to think about. An example is your drive to work in the morning. You probably don’t have to think about the route you’re going to take because it has become automatic over the years and has become a habit. This is how all our other habits become programmed into our subconscious mind, through repetition.

Now, if the route you take to work was disrupted due to an accident, then you would have to think about what alternate route you could take. This would involve using your conscious mind. In fact, the conscious mind only governs 5% of our behaviour whereas the subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of our behaviour. The conscious mind is also where motivation and willpower arise which is why they can rarely change our habits.

So the question is how do we begin to change our habits that are rooted in our subconscious mind? I will begin to tackle this complex subject in my next post.

Until then, start thinking about all the negative habits that you want to change and write them down in a journal and take an inventory of what you have done to try to change them. You will likely find that you have been using motivation and willpower. I will show you a more effective way to transform your negative habits.

Nauman Naeem MD

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