How I Hacked My Habits to Become More Proficient

4 min readphoto by Diego Marigno (2020)stories, popular

One of the things that I have noticed to be a game changer are habits. But, changing an habit, unlearning or learning any habit can be a challenge.

When you’re able to control your habits and the patterns that your mind creates, you won’t have any issues into achieving all the results you want to achieve.

But if you lack the mind power to control your thoughts, then you’re not going to be able to direct your conscious thinking into achieving better results.

How Habits Work and How to Improve Them

Habits are actions or behaviours that become repetitive. Any repetitive habit can be either healthy or unhealthy. The goal would be to grow more healthier habits and forget the unhealthy ones. 

Habits are based upon the reward mechanism system, since every single time that we drink alcohol, gamble or play video games we get a rush of dopamine. This chemical makes us feel good. We crave more of it. We will be prone to repeating more and more the original behaviours that caused that dopamine release. Hence, a habit is created.

The way to improve your habits is quite simple. You need to start by listening to yourself. Listen to your body, to your mind, to your soul. You need to put all of the behaviours that you consider to be a habit and scrutinise each an every one, deeply. After that, you need to basically decide if it is good for you and it should be kept, or if it is unhealthy and it needs to either be eliminated or changed.

Repetition Forms Habits

When you are repeating things over and over again, you are able to create and form habits.

It’s paramount that you repeat the habits that you do want to have in your day-to-day life, and that you stop repeating the habits that you wish not to have in your life.

Even if the action that we are repeating is something bad, it can still form itself into a habit. This is why we have to pay attention to the things that we are repeating and doing daily, since when we listen, we are able to change our habits and improve ourselves.

I once was told a history about a bucket that was full of water. The first day, a drop of ink was put into the water. Did it change it’s colour? No. The second day there was another drop of ink poured. The same on the third day, and so on. Every single day there was a drop of ink put into this bucket of water.

At the beginning, you would say that nothing is happening and that the water remains the same. After so many repetitions, the water starts to change and eventually there comes a moment where the water is no longer clear, but it has taken over the tonality/colour of the ink that was poured into it.

Unlearning What You Have Learned

In order to unlearn a behaviour, you must first realise the existence of that behaviour. Once you have been able to do that, you need to pay attention to how you have changed ever since you learned that. Then, you will be able to change actively your behaviours by choosing to act differently. You can learn a new habit, by unlearning an old habit.

Some examples of habits that you might want to unlearn are:

  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Porn
  • Stealing
  • Lying

The truth is that you might have learned something that even though it’s good, for example, double checking facts, you might want or need to change that behaviour, and it will only occur once you start to be present.

Notice yourself.

It’s not easy to forget something that you have already learned. However, if you detect that it is something that is referring you from your fullest abilities and that it must be removed from your routine, that would be the first step towards “un-learning” this specific habit.

You need to be actively present, during every single waking moment, analysing your behaviours and actively choosing to act differently.

It’s the only way.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Will Durant

Conclusion

Habits are something that we can change. We can decide to actively change a way of being, we can decide to act and become different.

You need to first understand how habits work, then you need to understand yourself and your own habits, you need to be self-aware of the things that you constantly repeat.

Then you need to conciosuly choose to act differently. There’s no shortcut. Once you are self-aware, then you can take control of everythign that you were doing as a habit, and change it.

Do you need any help in order to change your habits? You can send me an email to diego@marigno.com telling me about the habits that you’re wanting to change and I’ll gladly help you!

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WRITTEN ON:
April 2nd, 2020