Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ways to make new habits stick

I think in many ways habits drive us in ways that create pain in our lives. For example I am somewhat shy, and the shyness is really a habitual not-speaking. I have been outgoing at times, especially when I spent lots of time in friendly talkative situations, but being quiet and retiring has been a lifelong habit. There are of course deeper issues which are what led me to be shy in the first place, but that just means there are multiple ways to understand the phenomena of why we do what we do. At one level it's our habitual behavior, at another level it's the life history of woundology which led us to decide one behavior is better or safer than another.

At some point in ones self healing process it is necessary to begin to change. Once you understand why you chose to act the way you do, why not work to change how you act? Probably you can think of other behaviors that are more agreeable with your understanding and preference of life.

Here are a few good recommendations, some of which I've done for myself.

18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick

Changing lifelong habits cannot be done overnight. You've been doing this for years and years, so it will take some practice and awareness to make the change to newer habits. The writer suggests a 30 day period, but I would say it's actually not a fixed time period but whatever time period you find necessary. Another suggestion is experimentation, and having a period of time where you focus on a specific behavior gives you time to experiment and learn about the new and old behaviors. It is important to have a way to remember the habit changing experiment you are undergoing. It's so easy to, throughout your day, just fall into the habits and having a trigger to remind you of the experiment will help.

Good luck