Breaking Bad Habits for Good
“You’ll always do what you’ve always done
If you always think as you always thought”
Two Brain Concept
Breaking bad habits are not as hard as you may think.
Let’s say you want to quit smoking, lose weight, or change any addictive behavior. You’re doomed for failure unless you know the way you think, and what will or will not work for you.
Simply put - you have to know yourself to change yourself.
The topic of the month: Breaking Bad Habits. As we head into the fall season it’s time to get back to work = time to get serious. There’s no ideal time to change.
So now is as good as any -- time to rewire the brain!!
Two Brain Concept
Right brain and left brain thinking stems from research in the 60s by psycho-biologist Roger W. Sperry. Sperry discovered that the right hemisphere of the brain is the visual part and right brained people process information more intuitively.
Left brained people are more analytical. But, today we know that it’s not as simple as that. We have one brain and neither way of thinking is better than the other – just different – it’s helpful to know what comes naturally to you, and what you find more difficult.
Harry Lorraine made a living on demonstrating his extraordinary brain power. So I once thought that if I bought his book, I could have an amazing memory too. Fat chance!!
Unlike my brother who mastered the techniques, I worked on that book and quit. I thought I was simply dumber. But not so. I’m more right brained than than he is and I’m sure as hard as I try, I’ll never have a 'mastermind'.
To break bad habits, you have to know what works for you and what will never work.
The habits you have, didn’t come overnight, and you’re used to them. You may not like them, but your brain has become hardwired to respond automatically.
So the more you practice, the more you’ll get used to the good habit. Keep practicing.
A trigger is the thought or feeling that leads you to do what you do. Triggers also can go on automatic pilot.
For example, you’re at home alone watching TV and you’re bored. You get up and go to the fridge. Are you hungry? No. You’re bored. So boredom is a trigger -- Your brain has learned that boredom means EAT.
Know your triggers change your habits.
When you’re changing bad habits you have to do the good ones over and over -- Sometimes you may forget but don’t give up. Repetition is the only way to change. Keep at it.
As we said, all of us think differently. So what works for your friends, may not work for you.
For example: You want to stop smoking and a friend tells you that ‘the patch’ works miracles. So you get ‘the patch’ and fail. It doesn’t mean that you can’t quit smoking. The patch simply may not be the best method for you.
The more people you involve, the harder it is to go back on your word. Some people go one step further. They give someone money and if they don’t reach their goal within a certain period of time the money is theirs to keep. Now that’s pressure – but this too won’t work for everyone.
Keep your thinking simple. Do not make plans for ‘when I lose the weight’, ‘stop drinking’ etc. There is only now – and one day at a time.
Any time you say" I can’t", or "I’ll never", you’re setting yourself up for failure. Focus on your successes. Compliment yourself on the good stuff, and don’t expect perfection.
Negativity is a recipe for disaster.
1. Understand the way you think.
2. Focus on breaking one bad habit at a time.
3. Observe the automatic triggers that you’ve developed.
4. Keep doing the new behavior over and over, day after day.
5. Make a commitment to change and involve others.
6. Experiment with what techniques work best for you.
7. Keep working on your new behavior for 30 days minimum
8. Don’t give up on yourself or give yourself excuses.
9. Stay focused on being positive on yourself and change.
10. Extend your 30 days to 60 days to 90 days etc.
Re-wiring your brain takes time, but what’s the rush? Bad habits didn’t come overnight and they’re not going to disappear overnight.
Just keep at it day after day, no excuses, nothing negative, and bad habits will slowly go way.
I am dating someone who is sober for 3 years. She is in her twenties, works the steps, has a sponsor, and a spiritual faith. But sometimes she can switch like Jekyll and Hyde -- from absolutely delightful to anger, followed by avoiding me. She will meet with a sponsor or talk to an old timer but will not deal with our issues with me. The split personality is extremely confusing. I am struggling to understand what on earth this is. Can you help me?
Your girlfriend seems to be working very hard on her sobriety and is putting a lot of energy into the 12 step program.
Many recovering alcoholic/addicts have difficulty expressing their feelings, because for years they have been masking them by getting drunk or high. Once in recovery, they don't have the drink to fall back on and often have difficulty knowing how to deal with the pressures of every day life. This is the reason that they not only have to go to meetings and reach out to a sponsor, but they also have to work the 12 steps with that sponsor.
These are the steps
The steps help the person in recovery get in touch with their emotions and deal with them appropriately.
The most important thing for your girlfriend and for all people in the program is staying sober one day at a time. Some days are harder than others, but it gets better with time.
Your girlfriend is not trying to shut you out by calling her sponsor or members of the program. She is simply trying to deal day by day with the stresses of life without taking a drink. She's comfortable with the members because they are all in the same boat. Be patient.
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Are you a helper or an enabler? There's a huge difference. Helping and Enabling - the topic for next month.
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