Many people in our modern world find the need to change habits and behaviors that they find for burdensome. However, it is a burden in itself to change. The burden mostly lies in a struggle of the mind over instinct, or so it feels. Well, this reveals the strategy and it’s flaw. Active thinking can’t really put a dent in deep seated, subconsciously* and/or unconsciously** manifested habituations. The only way to think your way out is if the thinking doesn’t counter the habit in situ but thinks about the source specifically. Directly struggling with the habit per case is actually one of the most indirect and insufficient methods. You must find the fundamental sources and alter these to achieve progress and dodge stress and struggle. I’ll tell you the basic logic, but the protocol for success resides in you and is drafted from your willingness and ability to self-analyze and experiment.
Concept of Impetus: Higher order cognitive functions are based on universal qualities of the human brain but are elaborated and modified per individual’s world view, belief systems, and sociocultural context.
Extrapolated Assumption: Because the human brain is plastic(i.e. modifiable, adaptive, dynamic) in many ways, across all brain modules and regions, the brain/the mind/the person can be plastic as well. The brain system most causal for behavior is the belief system. This system is abstractly defined as it entails instinctive regions such as the hind brain and limbic system, with inter-conscious regions likethose for memory and language, and higher order cognitive regions such as executive functions in the frontal cortex. Well- or ill-defined is no matter because you have access to this system. This system your best tool, as it is the link between the present mind, the subconscious instincts and emotions, and life experience as memory, intuition, expectation, interpretation, and thus behavior and habit.
Applied Methodology: As corny as it sounds, you can change yourself, you just have to believe. However, you must actually believe. So instead of laboring and wrestling your habits by slapping them each time they pop up, focus your will and mind power on believing something that will make that habit inherently something you wouldn’t do. If you dig to your core and form a personal belief about who you really are and what you really care about and what you really need to do to be your best, when that belief truly establishes you won’t have to counter anything. You’ll find it’s actually a struggle to do a former bad habit because you’ll have to do something you don’t personally believe in doing. It’s all a matter of getting into your own head, defining your own personal desires and goals, your take on the world and your role in it and how you should – and will – behave to live up to it, and then integrating this into your belief system. Once you make those brain regions physically form new neural networks to accommodate your new belief into the system, your behavioral system will follow suit naturally. It’s really no different than a drug addicted armed robber converting to a religion and changing drastically and eternally into a sober, serving saint — as a matter of fact it is the same phenomenon as I preach here. It may sound intense or extreme, but it is less than or equal to the effort of other methods with the greatest quality and longevity of behavioral change.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post titled, “Wise Willpower”, as well as another, “Positive Thinking” for related and expanded discussion on this topic.
*Subconscious meaning brain functions out of your conscious control and manipulation, like cravings or feelings, that come and go with little free will or thought from your “mind” or “internal self”. You can’t think your way out of them, just think about them as they happen.
**Unconscious meaning you are not aware of them per se, they occur automatically or happen without you trying or planning to, or without you ever knowing or needing to know. You can’t think your way out of them until you notice it’s happening or you can’t think your way out because you don’t even know about it enough to think any way about it.