Most of us have the desire to change bad habits at some point in our lives. It could be an addiction like smoking or drinking, a relationship oriented bad habit like being selfish or not listening or financial bad habits that involve poor money management…but where do we start?
You have no doubt heard that beliefs are behind many of our habits…if we believe we look cool, or benefit in some way from smoking (keeping our weight under control for example), then that sustains the habit of smoking.
So, is changing a bad habit as simple as changing our beliefs?
Will change come immediately after we change those beliefs?
If we suddenly believe it is possible to live within our means – using the strategies contained in Attracting Greatness to fundamentally alter the belief system we have (which tends to often be based on fear rather than confidence), does that mean our overspending habit will cease the very next day?
Not necessarily so…think of the person who has had a heart attack, but goes right back to eating poorly or smoking – we know that it takes more than a massive change in beliefs to change bad habits.
So what is the relationship between beliefs and habits?
Yes, a belief is behind and reinforces our habits, but just as it took weeks to "learn" the bad habit, it will take weeks of sustained effort to "unlearn" – or more appropriately – "re-learn" new habits that are more inline with your new belief system.
To change a bad habit it takes both…changing your beliefs that have led to or have been created to support your habit AND a disciplined effort over time to change that habit.
A habit is actually supported by a neural pathway through the brain – think of it as a well worn path through the forest. If you veer off that path, this creates a certain amount of pain and we are programmed to avoid pain so the push is always to return back to the well-worn path.
In effect, changing a habit is re-training the brain, creating a new neural pathway so that it becomes the new "path through the forest"
Now, it is the fundamental change in a belief that will help motivate you to go through the ongoing process of changing the path – in effect making it easier and giving you the motivation to re-train your brain.
So it starts with the change in belief, but it ends with a concerted effort to re-train your brain to align with your new beliefs.
With the valuable knowledge in mind, you now have the ammunition to go out and change those beliefs and change bad habits.