THE SUM OF OUR HABITS
We are what we do every day. What we repeatedly do ultimately forms the person we are, and the things we believe in many of the things we often value in our performance all work, or how well we study-all eventually arise from the accumulation of our habits.
Many of us, If not all of us, if not all of us, have goals we wish to achieve and while we consciously know that we should be working towards them, we mostly don’t. We keep putting off trying harder and working towards what we want, often until it’s too late. We want our lives to change for the better, but we keep on doing the same things that we have been doing every day. We like to think that someday something special will happen, and we will end up being successful.
Exceptional skills aren’t acquired quickly and great lives aren’t built by revolution, they are built by evolution. Success is never the result of just luck and extra ordinary performance when it is required, and battles are never won in the battlefield. Battles are won and victory is achieved in the thousands of hours spent in training, when everyone else wasn’t. What we do every day is far more important than what we do once in a year. What we do every day is simple our life in miniature.
Many of us, once motivated, begin suddenly to work harder towards our goals, and yet we eventually give up after a while. We lose our motivation, thinking that maybe it wasn’t meant for us-perhaps it is too difficult. However, we fail to realize that trying suddenly to bring change into our lives disturbs the subtle ‘equilibrium’ that our habits form.
Whenever we try to do something out of the ordinary, the remaining habits try to suffocate it. We are at the mercy of our habits, and learning to control them is essential to our progress. By forming new habits, breaking bad ones, and making the good ones stick, becoming who we want to, will be easier.
The need to have and maintain good habits arises from the fact that modern society happens to be a “delayed Return Environment”, i.e. While we work towards something in the present, we will be rewarded for it later However, our brains prefers to be instantly rewarded for what we are doing, and thus it is easier to fall for temptations. Studying for an extra hour will improve our grades in the future, but taking a nap or bird-watching is relaxing and rewards us in the present moment.
This simple analogy applies for a surprisingly large fraction of the choices we make daily, whether we consciously do so or not. Going for a run is good for our health in the long term, but is not rewarding enough in the present moment and thus our brain pressers that we sit back at home.
This forms the basis of a very simple idea for making new habits, and improving old ones-track your progress, by providing yourself with visual feedback. For every day you go to the gym, or for every hour that you study, scribble a cross on a piece of paper. Slowly seeing our progress build up gives a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and can help us stick to what we want to do.
As i’ve written earlier, suddenly trying to work a lot harder often leads to disappointment, but it is always possible to study for an extra ten minutes or go for a short jog-something that is still an improvement, yet is not big enough a change to be very noticeable. One can gradually increase the frequency/duration of the new habit. The important part in making yourself do something new or better than you already do is to always start small and steadily improve.
One of the keys to making positive changes is focusing on making a new identity. Yours current behavior is simply a reflection of your current identity, and the things you do are a manifestation of what you believe you are, consciously or not. To change your behavior for good, it helps to start believing new things about yourself, and proving it to yourself with small wins. You may begin to believe that you are a hard-working person, and then study for an extra hour to convince yourself that you truly are hard-working. This works in breaking bad habits too tell yourself that you’re not a social media addict, and slowly begin to reduce your screen time thus cementing the belief and simultaneously eradicating the unwanted habit.
The last suggestion in managing your habits is to starting designing or arranging your environment such that it is easier to get the good things done, and also making it more difficult to engage in bad habits. Arranging your study table makes it more appealing for you to sit down and study, placing your phone away from you will help reduce distraction, and keeping snacks out of reach leads to lesser impulsive snacking what we simply have to do is to create “friction” for the habits that we wish not to engage in, while making it easier for us to actually do what we want to do. The people with the most self control are usually the ones who have to use it the least, and creating a more disciplined environment can nudge us towards better behavior.
The fact that our environment plays a role in deciding our behavior was observed in US. Troops stationed in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War in the 1970s As much as 20% of the soldiers were addicted to heroin, and yet when they returned to the, US, almost all of them eliminated their addiction overnight. Lee robins was a researcher who worked with the soldiers-and he concluded that the situation in Vietnam-constant stress of war and the easy availability of heroin-led to the addiction. As the environment changed, the soldier’s addiction spontaneously disappeared. And while most of us don’t have problems as serious as heroin addiction, the story helps us realize that our environment can be an “invisible hand” that shapes our behavior, and that we should be using it to our advantage.
The idea that we are the sum of our habits isn’t only confined to what we do physically; it also extends to how we think. Breaking mental bad habits like procrastination can be crucial to success. Repetitively thinking something is true or even being exposed to it a lot often changes our perceptions.
While I may not have used a lot of examples, the above strategies can work for almost any habit. Understanding habits, and behavior in general can help us do better things for ourselves. I hope you have been benefited from the information provided, and that it helps you become what you really want to became.
Thank you for reading.
NAME: Farhan Rahaman
CONTACT No: 8697407368
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