Our evolutionary brain relied on habits, routine, and intuition to keep us alive, hunting when we were hungry, observing recurring traits in other cavemen to assess risk accurately, and developing patterns around social bonds within the tribe. Though our intelligence and habits have evolved, our brains have become lazy. Nowadays, algorithms on our computer predict shopping habits and target us when we’re most vulnerable to splurge on the next Amazon purchase.
We doom scroll on the bus ride home, order DoorDash, and watch Netflix before falling asleep. These or similar behaviour patterns are becoming slowly solidified to the point where they have likely become automatic, like neural super-highways in our brain that have been driven thousands of times, replacing our instincts. This could not be more evident in the Pavlov’s dog-like reaction we have with our phones: the phone buzzes in your pocket and you check it, but when it stops buzzing you still check it, or maybe you’ve progressed to phantom vibrations at this point. Habits will form whether you are conscious of them or not so, it may be time to take charge.
The human brain is an incredibly efficient and, at times, simple machine, and as such, is always looking for shortcuts. Over time, the cue-reward loop (a trigger creates an action resulting in gratification) becomes a habit. The problem is, habits are hard to break when they are unhealthy and often hard to set when they are healthy. This is because bad habits tend to hit us with instant gratification, whereas healthy habits deliver prolonged gratification.
The good news is that over time the healthy habits you work hard to set will become automatic behaviour and require less conscious effort to maintain. Hard work aside, you have a decision to make: are you going to automatically doom scroll or (insert healthy habit) this year? (By the way, avoidance is also a decision).
If you have been in a packed gym on January 2nd and gone back to the same gym again in February, you know that most people struggle to follow through on their New Year’s goals. Here are some key components to developing habits that all people should be aware of:
If, like most of us here at Manifest, you have developed some unhealthy habits along the way, here are some tools to break them:
-Helpful reading: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg.
-Only 8% of resolution setters actually achieve their goals. Forbes
-80% of people fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions by mid-February. – www.inc.com
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