I am captivated by the Habit’s powers. It is extraordinary how easily we form habits and what it takes to change them. I loved The Power of Habit and Switch and Made to Stick and all the books that explore our patterning and how to shift our ways. It connects right up to my work in the Feldenkrais Method as well – how we form habits of the body and how we learn to shift them.
There are incredibly potent tools we can use to make a shift – one of them is to USE the impulse to create a habit to replace the pattern we want to change. We want some habits. If we didn’t have habits, we’d spend every minute of our lives trying to decide how to walk or talk or make a sandwich. Putting that decision making in the background is one of the wonderful things our nervous system does for us. It frees us up to tackle new problems by chunking our current patterns into generalized, forgettable, automatic responses. If we can use that tendency, we’re more liable to make a change. We can tie a new thing to an old thing, for example. To remember to perform one new regular task, tack it on to one you already do. So – if you regularly put your shoes on when you leave the house, you can add something to that ritual that you want to make sure you do every day.
Emotion is another incredibly important tool. One that the Heath brothers discussed as harnessing an elephant for your own purposes. If you let the elephant run loose, you will have to follow it wherever it goes. But if you let the elephant lead you or gently guide the elephant, you have a very powerful motivation beneath you.
All things so potent. So rich.
Habits aren’t the devil (in most cases) but it does feel good to master them or throw them out when they cease to serve you.