Changing Habits - Your Habits or Your Life
By Tania Kotsos
Changing habits is fundamental to changing your life. Everything you repeatedly do, say and think is as a direct result of your habits. We are all creatures of habit. Habits are those actions or reactions which are on auto-pilot, which you do without consciously having to think about them. The success you enjoy in your life, or the lack thereof, is directly related to the nature of your habits, and they are the product of your beliefs. To enjoy permanent, positive change in your life, you must change your negative beliefs and their associated habits.
Your Life is a Habit: When you examine your daily routine, you will find that most of what you do, say and think on a daily basis is habitual. From the moment you wake up in the morning, your physical and mental routine is already in place and you faithfully follow it with little or no conscious consideration. This applies to all areas of your life. The general state of your relationships reflects your social habits; that of your health and body reflects your eating and exercise habits; that of your bank account reflects your business and money habits and so it goes on. Habits either serve you or they don't. They either take you toward your intended outcome or away from it. Knowing your beliefs is key to changing habits.
Your Habits are the Product of Your Beliefs: Every single one of your thoughts is coloured by your beliefs. You perceive and experience life in accordance with your beliefs. Your actions and words reflect your beliefs. When you believe a certain thing about yourself or anything or anyone, you act, speak and think accordingly. Ultimately, you are what you believe you are. Know that your habits are the children of your beliefs. You cannot expect to permanently change a negative habit into a positive one if its underlying belief remains negative. To successfully and permanently transform your bad habits into positive ones, you must also change your beliefs. Changing beliefs and changing habits go hand in hand.
The Chicken or the Egg: Once your habits are firmly in place, they serve to reaffirm your beliefs such that it may become difficult to distinguish the parent from the child. This why most people find changing habits so challenging, because they try to establish new habits without dealing with the underlying negative belief and so, more often than not, they find themselves reverting to their old habits. In so doing, they lose weeks and even months of concerted effort and usually become discouraged and quit their attempts to change their negative habits, not realising that the underlying negative belief is the source of their failed attempt.
Why Diets Fail - An Example: This example about the roller-coaster ride of dieting clearly shows why changing habits is a challenge in the face of an underlying limiting belief. The only reason most diets fail is because the dieter has a negative underlying belief" that goes unchecked. If the dieter has a belief such as "I am fat", then no health or exercise regime will be met with permanent success if that belief remains intact. Sooner or later, he or she will take actions to fulfil that negative belief again. They have to because it is their belief. Ironically, even the decision to go on a diet is a fulfilment of the negative "I am fat" belief, although it appears to be a genuine attempt at losing weight. Remember, slim people need not diet.
Align Your Beliefs with Your Habits: While it cannot be ruled out that persistently changing a habit can ultimately lead to a change in the original underlying belief, trying to create a positive habit in the face of an underlying negative belief takes great amounts of will power and success is not guaranteed. In contrast, once you change the negative belief associated with the negative habit, then changing habits comes far more easily. In other words, creating a new, positive habit requires little or no will power when the underlying belief is working with it rather than against it.
There is No Need to Wait: Even though changing your underlying negative beliefs is important to changing habits, you do not have to wait to change the belief before creating your new, positive habits. Working on the two together is in fact preferable as it speeds up the process. The emphasis here is to change the negative belief, not to wait before changing the habit. Change the two together and success will quickly be yours. Using the example of the dieter, changing his or her underlying belief from "I am fat" to "I am healthy and slim" while at the same time systematically adopting new healthy eating and exercise habits that reflect the new belief, is the surest, if not the only, route to permanent success.
You Were Not Born With Your Habits: Changing habits should not seem such a daunting task when you understand that you were born with a clean habit slate. Both your "good" and "bad" habits were created from the beliefs that you adopted through your interactions with your teachers, peers, parents and society in general. Without consciously choosing your beliefs and hence your habits, you effectively leave yourself and your life in the hands of general social conditioning. There is no need to allocate blame for your habits or your beliefs. In fact, that would only serve to further entrench them. All you need to do is consciously choose those habits that serve you and eliminate those that fail you by changing your beliefs. It is never too late to change.
Habits Inhabit the Subconscious Mind: Everything that you habitually do, say or think today, started off as a single action or thought which was repeated often enough until it was passed down to your subconscious mind where it became a habit. All habits reside at the level of your subconscious mind where you no longer have to consciously think about them. Therefore, changing habits permanent must involve programming and re-programming your unwanted negative beliefs at the subconscious level.
Using Creative Visualization to Changing Habits: The most effective and practical way to consciously access and programme your subconscious mind for success is through creative visualization. It is the fundamental technique underlying reality creation. To put it simply, you can change any negative belief by repeatedly visualizing yourself feeling and experiencing the new positive belief and imagining yourself effortlessly repeating the actions that you want to become your habits and are aligned with that belief. You will soon find that your actions and thoughts in your day-to-day waking life begin to reflect your new beliefs until such time that they too become habitual in nature. Beware that visualizing an intended outcome without first dealing with the negative beliefs that contradict that outcome, is likely to derail your efforts and cause you to attract more of what you do not want through the Laws of Attraction and Polarity.
Your Will Power is Your Guide: When changing habits, you will know to what degree your underlying negative beliefs have been replaced by gauging how much will power you have to use. Any time you find yourself having to use significant amounts of will power to do something positive that you know serves your intended outcome, then there is probably still a major conflict between your actions and an underlying negative belief. Anything you do or say that is aligned with your beliefs, whether "positive" or "negative", requires no will power and is effortless. This is not to say that some or even great amounts of will power will not be necessary at the beginning of your efforts to change your negative beliefs and adopt new, positive habits. However, will power is the domain of the conscious mind whereas your aim is to transform your actions into habits of the subconscious mind, which is the domain that knows nothing of will power and needs nothing of the sort to carry out its actions.
Habits Are Intended to Serve You: The fact that you can repeat a task often enough until you can perform it without having to consciously think about it, is testament to your mind power. This ability frees up your conscious mind to continuously process and learn new information that serves your success until the associated actions become habitual and so the process can be repeated. Having said this, most people are inadvertently at the service of their beliefs and habits because they never consciously chose them in the first place. Your beliefs are yours to choose and your habits are yours to create. Changing habits is in your hands so resolve now to make your habits serve you and your success. Ultimately, you have the power to create your ideal life.
No words capture the relationship between your beliefs, your habits and your destiny
as precisely as these of Mahatma Gandhi:
"Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your destiny."
In a nutshell, we are all creatures of habits so hanging habits is fundamental to creating the success we intend for ourselves. The state of your life is largely a reflection of those actions, words and thoughts which you repeat without any conscious involvement on your part. In other words, your life is a reflection of your habits and your habits are a product of your beliefs. Most people try to change their negative habits with no consideration for the underlying negative belief and so meet with little permanent success. By re-programming your beliefs at the subconscious level, you give yourself the freedom to create new habits that effortlessly add to your success and to eliminate those that don't.