Good And Bad Habits: How We Plan To Kick It Up A Notch
We are often made to think that how we are is always how we will be, but it’s obvious we haven’t heard about epigenetics. Or, how we can use behavior modification to change our habits and patterns. The truth is, if we really want something we will either constantly think about it or do something to change it. Either way, it becomes a constant in our lives.
One of the hardest, and perhaps saddest, things to contend with on our journey through this life is that we won’t always pick up good habits or have good ways. Sometimes, we may lose our way, lose our focus, or simply be distracted from our best possible outcomes. No worries though! Let me help you, by showing you how I helped myself as we Kick It Up a Notch!
I already made mention of a few important terms, let us define these for a better understanding:
- Epigenetics – the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off. That is the study of heritable changes in gene expression (active versus inactive genes) that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence.
- Behavior Modification – Behavior modification is a treatment approach which is focused on changing behavior.
- Habits – A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
- Good Habits – A behavior that is beneficial to one’s physical or mental health, often linked to a high level of discipline and self-control
- Bad Habits – A patterned behavior regarded as detrimental to one’s physical or mental health, which is often linked to a lack of self-control.
What Are Habits And Why Are They Relevant?
I could not have better-summarized habits. According to Society for Personality and Social Psychology “Habits emerge through associative learning. We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and responses.” Simply, this means habits are our repeated actions and as we may have already realized, not all our repeated actions are “good” (truly beneficial to us, especially in the long term).
With that being said, what then are good or bad habits?
You may think to yourself, “All my actions are good, because, they are beneficial to me. What could she possibly mean by good and bad?” Habits Coach, Michal Stawicki, differentiates by stating “Good and bad habits are settled and regular. The difference between them is that good habits are painful (or merely troublesome) in the moment, but they provide compounded benefits later on. The bad habits are pleasurable (at least in some capacity) in the moment, but they compound into a disaster with time.” This therefore means, the actions you have taken for whatever reason may yield the best results in the moment, but not in the long run.
Let’s say, we have a friend or group of friends that we always hang out with. However, over time when there is a decision to be made and it does not go in your favour, you throw a temper tantrum. And for every time you throw a temper tantrum, you realize the decision goes in your favor. It then becomes habitual for you to “act out” each time there is such conflict, as it gives you the results you want. Eventually, you realize your friends become distant or do not include you in decision making activities. What you have successfully done is, created a pattern of bad habit, to get your way.
Taking Your Habits To Task
For a few moments, while you continue to read or while you pause to take in all that has already been said, try a bit of self reflection. Think about things or actions that you repeat every day. Whether these actions are conscious, or done without thought. Once you have done so, you can either write them down, or keep them close to mind.
How does self-reflection help?
In order to help us Kick it Up a Notch, we are going to choose self-reflection as a technique. You would have already went ahead and identified a few habits of your own through self-reflection. How about we try and classify these habits now, figuring which ones would you consider to be a bad habit versus a good habit.
Self-reflection would help you to meditate on or examine your own character, actions, and motives. Being truthful to yourself and not ignoring painful truths would have allowed you to identify most if not all of your habits.
Since we are now more aware of these habits, whether they are emotional, physical or even verbal we can now work on shedding the ones that are not beneficial to us.
What Does Shedding Mean?
In this article, we will refer to shedding as a way of developing new and better habits that oppose the bad ones. And that is how we are going to KICK IT UP A NOTCH.
There is this one very important thing in life, whether we are aware of it or not. It is called reinforcers. A reinforcer is something that increases the chances of a specific behavior or response. In this case, it will increase the likelihood of whether we will delve into bad or good habits. Using reinforcement we either feed the good or the bad.
For your habits that you have identified, you have the choice. You can choose to positively reinforce yourself or have an accountability partner who does this, when you avoid bad habits. Or, you can use a negative reinforcer to increase good habits. In the event of throwing a tantrum during decision-making, you would rather listen and be rational about coming to the most appropriate conclusion.
We have now done some self-reflection and developed a technique to shed bad habits. Using this, we can now be better able to manage our emotions and mental wellness. We are also now more aware of how we can change preconceived thoughts and feelings that have been habits for so long. Particular focus is on those that are negative or non-beneficial. These may include, self-doubt, stress eating, excessive drinking, among others
Once we are able to master these techniques, we will certainly be able to improve our daily lives and develop beneficial habits, towards self and others.
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