Why Do Some People Have a Hard Time overcoming their Habits?
If you were taught at a young age to do only certain things then bad habits can be quite difficult to unlearn. These habits can be anything from biting your nails to picking your nails. It is not always so easy to change these habits, especially if they are deeply rooted in you from your childhood. If you would like to change a habit it is important that you understand exactly what the habit is, why you are practicing it and why it is ineffective.
Habits are simply patterns of repeated behavior that tends to take place subconsciously and repetitively. While this may seem like an oversimplification of the relationship between habits and behavior, it is an important concept to grasp. Understanding the difference between good habits and bad habits helps you to break bad habits and make good habits, because good habits are not always as effective as bad habits when it comes to achieving your goal.
Let us take a closer look at a habit that many people engage in on a daily basis: their morning routine of waking up to pee, washing their hands and pouring themselves a glass of water or other beverage. This can be a very simple yet effective habit. For example, this morning I wake up before my alarm and quickly do a few minutes of self-washing in the bathroom. I then eat my breakfast, eat another meal and then do my exercise in the afternoon. My routine has me performing three tasks in four different activities. If this was my regular routine, I could probably go about this daily task without even thinking about it, but as with most habits, we become engrossed in the “good” part of our habits and lose track of the “bad” part.
One of the biggest triggers for a habit to form is when you feel like you have to do something, but there is no real reason for you to do so. Your routine for doing the activity makes you feel like you must do it. When you are in a situation where your only option is to perform a ritual, your brain will often function in a way that will cause you to perform the habit even if there is no real need to do so. Your brain believes that you will have a better result if you carry out the habit. This is why some people will keep performing a certain task, no matter how ineffective it is, because they believe that by performing the ritual that they will achieve a better result.
The second biggest trigger for habits to form is the desire to get something, whether it be food, a haircut, a new outfit or a hobby. All habits begin with an internal urge to do something that your brain interprets as a need. In most cases, this need is purely psychological and has no real physical need. However, if the desired action is not possible or the action is not performed regularly, your brain may perceive this as a lack of pleasure or a feeling of failure. The recommended habit for this is to start performing the habit every day as part of your normal routine, so that the brain starts to associate performing the habit with enjoyment, rather than a sensation of failure.
When your routines are consistently bad, it will take longer for the body to adjust to the new behavior, so the person will continue to perform the bad behavior until they have the adequate mechanisms to overcome the discomfort. Habits are designed to function with one another, rather than against each other. For example, when you eat unhealthy foods, your body will continue to crave more food until you give up the bad habits and change your eating habits. This is why habits should never be allowed to control a person’s life; when they do, discomfort will result.