Habit Shift™


Personal Success

Virtually all of our behaviour has roots in our habits. Imagine the stress most of us would feel from living just one day with absolutely no behaviour based on prior patterns. Is it even possible?

Even at our most creative moments, we are building on patterns generated from prior successes and failures. Habits, then, aren’t the problem. It’s that since everything is changing and habits are, well, habitual, they end up producing a result that no longer works under new conditions. It’s a matter of adaptation as much as anything; we created them to solve one problem but they themselves have become part of another problem.
Many people assume “habits” are inherently bad just like many think habits are actions, behaviours. Actually, preceding every habitual behaviour is a habit of thought and a habit of emotion. Stop for a minute. Doesn’t that make sense? Work with your cognitive and emotional habits and you’ll find the behavioural habits are most often just the visible part of the iceberg.

For example, the habit of procrastination. What are the habitual thoughts that precede habitual procrastination? Habitually misjudging time requirements for projects? Habitually thinking there aren’t really any hard deadlines?

What might be the emotional habits that pave the way for habitual procrastination? Fear of being discovered incompetent? Anger toward the person who is expecting the work to be completed?

On the other hand, think of all the positive habits that result in living an active, healthy lifestyle or maintaining a positive attitude through thick and thin or being a good parent!

Like Aristotle said, “We become that which we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not single act but a habit.” Conversely, the same is true for much of our struggle and difficulty.

The point is this: manage your habits at the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural levels and you’ve managed life.


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