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Published on March 9, 2020

How To Change Habits By Using Your Subconscious Mind

How To Change Habits By Using Your Subconscious Mind

A lot of people think they can control their behavior by having self-control. Are you one of them?

The truth is, you can hardly control your actions when you consider the driving force behind each action.

Before taking action or making a decision, we usually use our conscious mind. We link a lot of habits in our life at each point in time to our conscious mind. These habits are not necessarily products of our conscious initiatives though; our subconscious mind is also instrumental in making some decisions. Habits fueled by your subconscious mind are beyond what you can control.

In order to change habits to enhance your life, you need to understand the difference between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. You also need the right techniques to reprogram your mind for positive habits.

Conscious Mind vs. Subconscious Mind

Your conscious mind powers the awareness of your environment, your emotions, current thoughts, as well as the physical sensations in your body.

Your unconscious mind supplies any information that goes below the domain of your current awareness.

Your subconscious mind houses your fears, anxiety, memories, beliefs, and what’s real to you. Your subconscious mind is so powerful that it can bypass your awareness to channel the course of your life.

This is why you need to learn how to choose what you think. Your conscious and unconscious thoughts define your habits (present reality).

The Law of Attraction affirms that you can define your present realities and attract success into your life, work, finance, relationships, and health by choosing your thoughts.[1]

Our subconscious mind influences most of our decisions, choices, and thoughts. It regulates at least 95% of the choices that we make each day. For example, you stopped at a red light, avoided a fight, and blew on foods that are too hot to be eaten.

Do you recall not having to think before taking some of these actions? Those responses were automatic. Your subconscious mind records your encounter, just like your journal.[2]

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The subconscious habits you form can be positive habits or negative habits. You can have bad habits which you exhibit without thinking about them. Examples are biting your fingernails when you are nervous, transferring aggression when you are under pressure, or overeating at a buffet.

Do you remember having these negative behaviors without recognizing them? That’s the power of your subconscious mind.

Here’s the good news:

You have all that’s required to change the bad habits.

How to Change Habits with Your Subconscious Mind

It’s not that difficult to hack your subconscious mind and change your habits. You can leverage some or all of the following techniques:

1. Develop Self-Awareness

This is the first step to break free from bad habits. It’s about stepping out of your mind and examining your actions from a different perspective. While it may seem challenging as you start, you can master it by constant practice and sheer commitment.

Judson Crewer, in his Ted Talk, explains that you can change habits by becoming curious about them:

2. Choose Your Network And Environment

Who you associate with and things in your environment can add positive and negative inputs into your subconscious. Be selective when it comes to choosing folks you spend time with.

The truth is negative people and environment will always encourage bad habits. You will absorb negative messages if you find yourself in a toxic environment. Environmental factors include social media, and news feed coupled with your physical environment.

Seek only information and knowledge that can empower you, and surround yourself with positive people.

3. Visualize

You can reprogram your mind with positive images. Visualization is a technique that you spend some minutes each day to imagine scenes that feature you and your realities.

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These scenes could be:

  • A beautiful home
  • A happy family
  • A successful business
  • Fulfilling relationships
  • Financial freedom…

You can visualize whatever you want to attract in life. You can also reinforce your visualization by emitting positive emotions that align with the picture.

Emit joy, peace, gratitude, and feelings of love. Let them flow through you as you visualize those pictures in your mind.

Your subconscious mind will naturally adopt them as realities. Remember, visualization will enable your subconscious to discard, limiting the information that produces bad habits to absorb pleasing images that will be replayed in the future.[3]

Learn how to visualize in this article: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

4. Affirmations

You can install positivity into your subconscious mind through affirmations.

Affirm positive statement in its present tense. You can say:

“I am diligent, confident, and successful,” instead of “I will be diligent, confident, and successful.”

Since your subconscious mind only attunes to the present realities, it cannot process future conditions.

Also, utilize positive statements. For instance, don’t say:

‘I am not a failure,’

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Your subconscious mind is not programmed to process negatives.

Affirm the corresponding feelings.

You need to align your emotions with the realities of what you say. Say ‘ I am successful’ while feeling like a failure will only create conflict in your subconscious. Your subconscious will only believe what you say when you feel the corresponding emotions.

Say it again and again.

Affirmation is effective when it is repeated. It is not enough to say it twice or thrice. Recite them and integrate them into your day. As you say those affirmations to yourself, they will integrate into your routine, and you will be positioned to behave in line with what you say.

Practice and repeat.

If you want to be good at anything, you will need to be consistent by practicing it. Your mind needs to be trained through constant practice as well. Be aware of your environment and things that surround you, replace the bad habits with good ones, and repeat the process continuously.

Reprogram your subconscious mind by redefining your beliefs, values, and lifestyles. Eliminate the negative ones and reinforce positive habits through awareness, affirmations, and visualization.

Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind

Some mind therapists believe you can reprogram your subconscious mind within six weeks. However, if you have degenerating habits, it may take you 12 months to completely reprogram your mind by following the steps above.

Why does it take that long to reprogram the subconscious mind?

It takes considerable time for your subconscious to absorb information, the same way it requires enough time to override the data once it is absorbed.

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Everything starts with a thought! It could be a negative or positive thought. This thought coordinates your body to a vibration level. If your body is creating a negative vibe, you will attract negative things; and if positive, you will attract things that are relevant to your success.

To reprogram your mind for a clear direction that leads you to success, here’re the keys:

1. Goals Setting

Your subconscious mind is an organized domain that demands clarity of purpose to determine what matters to you. You cannot achieve success without a goal. A goal provides your subconscious mind with a map that defines your present realities (bad habits) and the destinations (good habits).

2. Consistency

When you repeat new behaviors, you make some incremental leaps each day in reprogramming your mind. For instance, if you discard a bad thought and replace it with a positive one, you will improve your subconscious mind, which in turn, produce good subconscious habits.

You must censor the thoughts that come to your mind by eliminating fear, doubts, and anxiety. Your subconscious mind is a field, your thought is a seed, and the fruits you produce are habits (good or bad).

Final Thought

Your subconscious mind is capable of directing your experiences in life. It influences your everyday decisions and habits including the clothes you wear, the food you eat and your reactions under pressure without you even noticing it.

As powerful as the subconscious mind is, you can still change your habits if you learn to be more aware of your actions, visualize what you want for yourself, and control your environment wisely.

 

Featured photo credit: Bookblock via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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