Habits-Just what are they, why good habits are hard to make & bad habits even harder to break.

What is a habit?

Why is it so hard to make a new habit and break a bad one?

When setting a goal to create a new habit, It does always seem to be like an uphill struggle.

Why are healthy habits so hard to make, and most people fail?

It is now February and my local gym is starting to empty out, unlike the first week of January, I couldn’t get in the door.

So momentum had run out, the novelty had passed, the guilt of holiday overindulgence had been absolved and people reverted back to their old day to day routines.

It happens every January and lasts about a month. Do that year in and year out and that becomes a habit too. Habits are doing small things routinely, either daily, weekly, monthly or even annually.

Habit by default

It becomes an acquired habit, like all default habits, develops over time, and switches from the conscious to the subconscious mind. You form the habit from your conscious mind, with not much of a plan or a set goal, but because you are conditioned to. We do the same thing at other annual events and holidays. Human conditioning. We conform to family and society around us and follow age-old traditions, which are habits, without question. It is what our parents did, and their’s did and so on.

From Conscious to subconscious

Learning to drive a car is a prime example of a conscious behavior evolving into a subconscious habit. When you first learn to drive you are extremely aware of how to drive, you have to think of what to do next as you are driving. It is all a learning, after a period of time and as you become more efficient, you don’t have to concentrate as much as you did before and it eventually becomes a habit and you actually drive with little conscious thought. Your subconscious goes through the motions and the act of driving becomes a fixed habit — automatic.

Like driving all habits can be learned, especially good habits. If you are consistent with your chosen task, behavior and goal, it does take up to 66 days for a habit to form. Once that habit is formed it occurs automatically or becomes part of your daily routine — Morning exercise routine, or meditation.

Photo by Gabor Monori on Unsplash

Bad Habits

We also pick up bad habits and they are picked up much in the same way as good ones, as something routinely is done will form a habit, over time. You take smoking as a prime example of a bad habit. All smokers who first smoke never think that this could be habit forming and thus difficult to stop. It is the same with all the bad habits. Many bad habits are learned and then engrained in our psyche and behavior, that is why a bad habit is so hard to break, and I’m not talking about addiction here, yet.

Not lifting the toilet seat, is a prime example. It is not that I am going out of my way to annoy my wife, it is just something I didn’t do from childhood, and I was unaware whether I was doing it or not. I think my sisters gave up telling me. Strangely enough, if I did sprinkle I always wiped the toilet seat!

Changing Habits

So what is more difficult, breaking a bad habit or forming a new good habit? Both are equally as hard to do as you have to be motivated to do it.

The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. One of My bad habits was sitting at home in the evening eating a bag of crisps. Instead of just NOT eating crisps, I have also begun doing micro exercises every day. I am in the process of replacing a bad habit with a new one. At first, I did miss my bag of crisps and the thought of doing exercises at 6 am horrified me, but now that I have been doing it for a few weeks, I’ve forgotten about the crisps, though I still struggle with the exercise routine, I’m getting there.

Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Mindset

Our thoughts drive every aspect of our life, if many of our bad habits, or the habits we want to break, are default thoughts, then we first have to become aware of those thoughts that do limit us and “flip” them to more positive constructive ones. It does take time to do this and on many occasions, you have to become super aware, to be able to recognize a bad habit when it occurs. There is no use beating yourself up after you have repeated the bad habit, chalk it up and keep trying

I’ve quoted James Clear on making & breaking habits:

3 Ways to Form Better Habits

How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide: Read this guide right now to learn 5 easy, powerful strategies for changing habits.

The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick: Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior), routine (the behavior itself; the action you take), and reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior). This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.

Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year: Most of the time we set our goals in the wrong way. Read this article to learn how identity-based habits can help you achieve your goals more easily.

3 Ways to Break Bad Habits

How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One: Want to learn how to break a bad habit? Read this article to discover the science of breaking bad habits and practical suggestions for making it happen.

How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions: By simply removing yourself from an environment that triggers all of your old habits, you can make it easier to break bad habits and build new ones.

How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules: A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying. Most of us could benefit from setting brighter lines in our personal and professional lives.

Call to Action

To change your habits, good or bad, you have to take action. Sitting around waiting for it to change, just won’t cut it. You need to also ask yourself why you want to make/break a habit and OWN it. Do not be making changes if it is for someone else as your motivation to continue will fade as soon as theirs does.

Recovery is about growth and everyone does grow at a different pace. My advice to anyone in early recovery is to wait at least 2 years before making any major life-changing decisions that might have emotional ramifications. An example: get a mortgage, get married, change career, emigrate. In light of this everyone has dreams and we all do want to better our lives in one way or another, so it is important in early recovery to start to put those dreams into reality by creating achievable goals which can be reached in time. I found in my early recovery, although I had dreams, I wasn’t aware of creating goals and my life unfolded by default. It turned out well for me but had I had clear goals, I do feel that it would have been even better.

I do try to learn from my mistakes, and that is why they are little miracles in themselves that happen for a reason. I am a growth-seeking being I will continue to seek change in myself. What motivates me is the Pain – Pleasure, which moves me away from my pain points (a lack of finances, time & peace of mind) to my pleasure points (freedom of finances, time & peace of mind).

The way I have found to achieve this freedom and to move away from the “Groundhog Day” of life is through online marketing. I have taken this step into the abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of Six Figure Mentors-SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum.

Now Affiliate Marketing might not be for everyone, but my suggestion to you is to just watch the 7-day video series by the co-founders, Stuart & Jay, and decide from there. The video series is free, very interesting and will show you, at least, just what opportunities are available online. I’ll leave you to decide.

Go ahead and Crush it!!!

Thanks for reading. If you would like to leave a comment, please do so on my website

Dermot Mc Donough

Universal laws that you need to follow, as they follow you.

Law Of Attraction

According to One Mine- One Energy, there are up to 20 Laws of the Universe, some say there are 7 and others say 12.

We are not here to debate on the exact number, but look at how 3 of the main Spiritually based Universal Laws can affect your life and how you can shape and change your life using these laws for better or for worse.

I will look at the most popular law first; The Law Of Attraction

Continue reading “Universal laws that you need to follow, as they follow you.”

“Your Ego is NOT Your Amigo”

Your Ego is Not Your Amigo
Ego not amigo blog
Ego not amigo blog

Your “Ego” is NOT Your Amigo

What is your definition of Ego?

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud broke it down to 3 components:

Ego

Id

Super-ego

According to this Freudian model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.[1]

Ego, Id, Super Ego
Ego, Id, Super Ego

So in layman’s terms: (That I can understand)

The Ego is “I” or “me” and how I see myself and the world I live in.

The Id is our instinctual drive, like impulsivity and arousal, seeking instant gratification and pleasure and is imprinted from birth or subconscious.

The super-ego is our conscience, which is learned and absorbed from our parents and other influences. This includes beliefs, values & morals.

Enough about Freud, just threw that in there to look intelligent, what this article is about is the EGO and how our ego can do us more harm than good.

When I first heard the word ego, I thought of egocentric, egotistical and egomaniac. People who only focus on themselves, big-headed, vane, never wrong, the best thing since sliced bread, a narcissist.

Continue reading ““Your Ego is NOT Your Amigo””

Recovery and Women

addiction dictionary

Recovery and Women

For as long as I’ve been working as an addiction Counsellor, I, have worked with both sexes.

As a man, I always was a lot more comfortable working with men, as I can empathize more to men, being one. Although every effort was made to place counselor/client, the same gender – male to male & female to a female there were the occasions when that was not possible as the ratio of women to men was higher.

Both males and females in early recovery are not in touch with their emotions, as with the nature of addiction. However, women are more intuitive than men and are more open to getting in touch with their feelings, unlike men, who are more egocentric.

I do find though those men will hide behind the bravado of their drinking “drunk a log”, when & where they can get away with it. This is a form of denial which needs to be challenged as all it is, is a deflection away from the real consequences of addiction. Challenge the BS and the true story and feelings come out, as does reality.

Women are deeper and carry a lot more guilt and shame than men do. Women feel dirty and this guilt & shame is the biggest block that most women face when addressing their addiction.

There are different reasons why this is so.

  • Society has put shame on addiction and labeled it a moral defect.
  • Women who drink are stigmatized more than their male counterparts.
  • Women who admit to having an addiction problem are judged more than men.
  • Women are mothers and mothers can’t be irresponsible.
  • Many women who suffer from addiction, have underlying trauma issues, like abuse.
  • Women are at greater risk of losing custody of their children when they admit to having an addiction.
  • Women tend to resort to secret drinking, which is uncontrolled, unlike social drinking or, drug use.
  • Women under the influence are at an increased risk of being raped.

Many women I have worked with, like their male counterparts, have come into treatment as they were externally motivated. Consequences mounted, pressure from family, employers, judicial and social services.

I feel that women, in general, do better than men in treatment as they don’t have as big an ego, and are more in tune with their feelings. Recovery from addiction does need an emotional shift.

Those emotions can be very painful as, without the numbing effect of chemicals, they are the equivalent of touching a raw nerve.

Women have a higher physical pain threshold than men, but not necessarily with emotional pain. As women are more intuitive they are more likely to express their painful emotions. This though is not enough as this release of emotions can easily lead to self-pity, which can easily then lead to relapse.

Women need nurturing support more than moral support, as they have to get in touch with their inner self and allow themselves to forgive themselves, to be able to let go of the shame.

A True Story about a young woman in recovery

There is a young single mother who attends our aftercare group. This young woman has 2 small children, a boy, and girl. Both kids are in care, one in foster care and the other lives with the granny.

To get custody of her daughter, in foster care, social services did give her a number of changes she needed to make. She was asked to do parenting courses and domestic violence therapy. She did these diligently and even took the initiative to engage in a back to work programme.

Early recovery is hard enough on its own, without the added stress of trying to abide by all the recommendations of social services and also a cantankerous granny, who is reluctant to allow her to see her son.

It has been an uphill struggle for this young woman and she has been confronted by one “brick wall” after another. She has still managed to stay sober, even though at times she felt so broken that relapsing looked like a very good option. She didn’t, she picked herself up and carried on.

I worked with her doing CBT, as her own self-worth and self-esteem hit rock bottom. She would be told one week by the social worker that she has a good chance at getting her child back, and the following week, would be told that she never will get her back. Unfortunately, pushing peoples’ buttons to see how they react is how social services operate, even though it is cruel and abusive. Her son’s granny is no better, she will go there to visit him and when she gets there, she is told that it is not convenient. This after she has traveled by bus, to another town 100 miles away.

People can be cruel, and she is being punished, as she was an addict, by services that are supposed to be helping. To add salt to the wound, the father of her daughter, who has a criminal record and has threatened to kill one of the social workers, and has stalked her, gets more of a say in his daughter’s life.

Despite all this pressure and overwhelm, she has remained sober and keeps fighting. She is a huge inspiration to the other group members in her aftercare group, as most other people do admit that their problems are insignificant in comparison to hers.

It is not easy

Her story, like many others, is an eye-opener as just how difficult recovery can be for women, more than for men. Besides the normal cravings, thoughts of relapsing and necessary routine and habit changes, they have a whole load of other issues to contend with.

I acknowledge all women in recovery and say well done for your tenacity and resilience.

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Call To Action

Recovery is about growth and everyone does grow at a different pace. My advice to anyone in early recovery is to wait at least 2 years before making any major life-changing decisions that might have emotional ramifications. An example: get a mortgage, get married, change career, emigrate. In light of this everyone has dreams and we all do want to better our lives in one way or another, so it is important in early recovery to start to put those dreams into reality by creating achievable goals which can be reached in time. I found in my early recovery, although I had dreams, I wasn’t aware of creating goals and my life unfolded by default. It turned out well for me but had I had clear goals, I do feel that it would have been even better.

I do try to learn from my mistakes, and that is why they are little miracles in themselves that happen for a reason. I am a growth-seeking being I will continue to seek change in myself. What motivates me is the Pain – Pleasure, which moves me away from my pain points (a lack of finances, time & peace of mind) to my pleasure points (freedom of finances, time & peace of mind).

The way I have found to achieve this freedom and to move away from the “Groundhog Day” of life is through online marketing. I have taken this step into the abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of Six Figure Mentors-SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum.

Now Affiliate Marketing might not be for everyone, but my suggestion to you is to just watch the 7-day video series by the co-founders, Stuart & Jay, and decide from there. The video series is free, very interesting and will show you, at least, just what opportunities are available online. I’ll leave you to decide.

I wish you a happy day, Take Care.

How can I give up smoking without an e-cig?

addiction dictionary

To vape or not to smoke, that is the question:

As the heading says, it can be done and in my opinion, vaping has become a substitute for cigarettes, not a nicotine replacement cessation aid. If you want to know my why’s & how’s, read on…..

I believe, every smokers’ greatest desire is to stop!!!

I know I did and after 25 years of smoking, I stopped and have stayed stopped now for over 9 years.

I started smoking at the age of 14 and by the time I was 19, I was already thinking about stopping and had made my first failed attempt to do so. So…

What went wrong?

Attempt 1

I got the Nicorette TM nicotine gum through my doctor (GP), which was only relatively new on the market then, and thought, great, these will do the trick. 

It went well enough for the first few days, but I could not take the taste anymore, they really were disgusting, even writing this brings back the taste in my mouth after 30 years.

That didn’t last too long, I resumed my smoking habit, but kept the gum, as I thought it would be handy to have especially when at work, or when I was unable to have a smoke.

Attempt 2

My next attempt was about 5 years later and I got the patches. My brother-in-law, a reformed smoker, brought them for me and told me if I managed to quit he would foot the bill, but if I relapsed, I’d have to pay him.

The problem with those is that my skin took an allergic reaction to them and they never stuck on me that well either. (I know excuses, excuses)

My thigh seemed to be the only place that they would not cause irritation, but if I sweated, the patch would slide down my leg. Embarrassing, especially when I was wearing shorts.

I never got past the first stage of those and resumed my old habit again. And I had to pay back my brother-in-law…

Attempt 3

I tried again about 3 years later, a hypnotist was in town, so we managed to contact him, my sister & I invited him over and we both lit up a few hours after he left…

Attempt 4

10 years had passed since my last attempt and I had started a course in addiction counselling, ironic I know. The main requirement to attend the course was to be totally chemical free, that included nicotine.

I got the patches again, psyched myself up, as there was more of a sense of urgency here and I did manage to stop for 2 months, completing my course of patches.

The only downside was that I put on over a stone in weight, so when I did relapse and start smoking again, (on holiday) I not only was a smoker again but was now a fatter smoker. My self-esteem took a nose dive. My smoking was greatly reduced though, as this time around I wasn’t meant to be smoking whilst doing the course.(Incentive)

I discovered by default that I didn’t actually need as much nicotine in my system. My smoking habit did change, form a 20+ a day smoker to about a 5 – 10 a day smoker.

It got me thinking, my biggest fear of stopping smoking was nicotine withdrawal, so if done right and by reduction, also by cutting down on the strength of cigarettes, from strong to ultimate lights, you know the ones with the holes in them, I could and was weaning myself off nicotine.

So looking back, it might not have been perfect, but at least I was making progress. The actual habit of smoking was the real problem now.

My smoking never really increased again and I did stay on no more than 5-10 ultimate light cigarettes a day for the next 2 years until I eventually stopped.

Cigarettes are harmful to your health, as the warning signs say, and that is dead right and my smoking was beginning to really take its toll physically as I was going from one throat infection to the next and eventually it became uncomfortable to smoke.

For every cigarette, I had to suck a lozenge afterward just to soothe my throat.

My fiance also was a nonsmoker and wanted me to stop, both my sisters had stopped smoking, so it was time.

Attempt 5

Hypnotherapy again, could this be it? No, I was smoking again the following day, at least I learned that I can’t be hypnotized. The funny thing was that I was doing a course in NLP at the time, which is about the power of suggestion and associative conditioning. Maybe that is why it didn’t work.

My Final Attempt

This time I had a plan & goal, which worked and I will list:

  1. Genuinely wanted to stop now – In the past, I had to stop and cut down due to outside influences, but this time, I feel I had enough. I was now motivated.
  2. Stopped smoking in the house – I would only smoke outside and as it was winter, being outside wasn’t a nice experience.
  3. Stopped smoking in the car – This was hard and it took time to undo this ingrained habit, but I would chew gum instead. After a few weeks, unless I was on a long journey, it became easier.
  4. Limited my options – By having cut out smoking in the car and in the house. I found I was smoking 4 to 5 cigarettes a day, and I was cutting down all the time. Some days I even found myself only smoking 2 cigarettes. I was gradually breaking the habit of smoking.
  5. I got the patches again and started doing the reducing course properly this time – by the time I finished the course my desire to smoke had gone, I’d kicked the habit.
  6. I have not lifted a cigarette since and have never had the urge to smoke either.
  7. In all, the process took a few months, but every previous attempt had been a knee-jerk reaction, not really planned or thought through. I did though learn something new about myself, from each attempt, which I feel did help me to stop eventually.

What the hell has this got to do with e-cigarettes?

Thought you’d never ask…

Dissociation

I feel I was very lucky that e-cigarettes or vaping weren’t around when I stopped smoking, why?

As the subheading says, in my opinion, what was created as a nicotine replacement therapy aid or cessation tool, is now a substitute for cigarettes. 

People have swopped only and are NOT quitting, in fact, it is becoming “trendy” to vape and some young people who have never smoked cigarettes are vaping.

When you think about it you are still smoking, as the nicotine is still there, the behaviors are still there and so is the attitude. It kind of defeats the object doesn’t it?

The argument for e-cigarettes is that they get people off the more harmful tobacco products, and yes they have a point, but just how safe are e-cigarettes?

Only a couple of generations ago, smoking cigarettes were considered “cool”, the US Army even supplied them to their troops. Not a word about danger or health hazards then.

Who Knows what will transpire in the future?, the only issue is that if you truly desire to stop smoking, then do make a plan and goal and if you have to vape, do as I did with the cigarettes and cut back gradually until you stop.

I swear by the patches for nicotine replacement and also good old willpower, and oh yes chewing gum.

Like any addiction, stopping smoking is hard and was never meant to be easy as the harder it is the more you will come to appreciate just how great it is to be an ex-smoker, I know I do.

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To Sum Up
 

Recovery is about growth and everyone does grow at a different pace. My advice to anyone in early recovery is to wait at least 2 years before making any major life-changing decisions that might have emotional ramifications. An example: get a mortgage, get married, change career, emigrate. In light of this everyone has dreams and we all do want to better our lives in one way or another, so it is important in early recovery to start to put those dreams into reality by creating achievable goals which can be reached in time. I found in my early recovery, although I had dreams, I wasn’t aware of creating goals and my life unfolded by default. It turned out well for me but had I had clear goals, I do feel that it would have been even better.

I do try to learn from my mistakes, and that is why they are little miracles in themselves that happen for a reason. I am a growth-seeking being I will continue to seek change in myself. What motivates me is the Pain – Pleasure, which moves me away from my pain points (a lack of finances, time & peace of mind) to my pleasure points (freedom of finances, time & peace of mind).

The way I have found to achieve this freedom and to move away from the “Groundhog Day” of life is through online marketing. I have taken this step into the abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of Six Figure Mentors-SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum.

Now Affiliate Marketing might not be for everyone, but my suggestion to you is to just watch the 7-day video series by the co-founders, Stuart & Jay, and decide from there. The video series is free, very interesting and will show you, at least, just what opportunities are available online. I’ll leave you to decide.

I wish you a happy day, Take Care.