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Do You Have a Habit Hard To Break?

By Terje Brooks Ellingsen

If You have a habit hard to break it means that you're currently lacking control over a certain behavior or set of behaviors in a type of situation. The first question that comes to my mind is: How do we really create a habit - bad or good? A habit is not created the first time we do it. The clue here is repetition; we create a habit by repeating it. And the more we repeat it the more resistant it becomes.

The founders of NLP, Bandler and Grinder are using a concept called "streamlining". They explain this concept as a natural process whereby our minds learn which aspects of a thought process is important and which is not. Let me give an example:

When I was about 5 years old somebody offered to shake my hand for the first time in my life. I was very pleased because this nice woman was treating me like an adult. I looked at her outstretched hand and then, remembering what others did in this situation, clumsily lifted mine and moved it towards hers. I remember not getting the positioning quite right, and she compensated and smiled. Now, the next time I got a little better at shaking hands and soon I didn't even need to think about it. When somebody offers you their hand to say hello, you don't think about it at all. It's automatic behaviour. Even if you do think about it, you can't help lifting your hand up. This is what we call a habit.

Good habits are hardly mentioned - they are not important and not on the agenda. It is the bad habits that cause trouble and it is these habits - the habits we want to get rid of - that means most for us. It is self improvement that matters, make our habits better.

You can break a habit by deliberately practicing a new or different one. Many of us blame our unconscious mind for our bad habits. But even the most enlightened and spiritual person has bad habits. So this seems to indicate that they are not only outside of their conscious control, but even outside of the control of the unconscious mind as well. The fact is that your unconscious mind can break an old habit and learn a new one without your needing to know about it. You can also break a habit by making it seem uncomfortable, like boredom for instance. Our minds are very keen on doing what feels comfortable and the same mechanism can be used for making a new and more functional habit.

But what about the good habits - there are some of them as well. When Michael Jordan was asked to miss the basket when throwing for a TV commercial, it took him around 20 attempts. Even good habits can be difficult to break, but why would one want to break them?

Author: Terje Brooks Ellingsen


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