The Awareness Key

This is a continuation of my set of posts on programming yourself.

Awareness of yourself and your actions/behaviours/perspectives/etc is always useful, but when it comes to CHANGING an old or bad habit, it is really all you need.

How does this work.

Well let me tell you a little story.

When I was in my early teen years I used to say “like” a lot (“It’s like, you know, like when you like talk and use a work like, you know any word like over and over again”)

Well apparently my one sister found it very annoying (and I don’t blame her) so every time she heard me say the word “like”, she started saying the word “hate”.

This started to make me aware of how much I was saying it and eventually I stopped saying it quite so much (“I still do it a little, like every now and then”).

When I was doing my research on programming yourself this whole story popped into my mind because I realize that with my sisters help I had UN-programed and bad habit.

So it got me thinking as to HOW we had done it and it’s really very simple.

It was solely a function of awareness.

When she started saying “hate” every time I said “like” it made me super-aware of how much I was saying it (I was also really annoyed with her at the time – though eventually that annoyance shift to me as I realized how much I used the word).

As a result of that awareness I began to use the word less and less.

The process goes something like this:

  1. You become initially aware of a bad habit (whether by someone else telling you or your own discovery) and decide you want to do something about it.
  2. You decide whether you want to STOP the habit or CHANGE it to something else (if so what – and be very specific).
  3. You build awareness of the behaviour or habit to an extreme degree.  Once you are Super-Aware you can start to implement the stop/change.
  4. Initially you will only catch yourself AFTER it’s happened.  This is fine, but immediately tell yourself “NO I want to stop this” or  you immediately do the new habit you want in it’s place.
  5. Eventually you will catch yourself AS it happens and you can cut it off in the middle (if you’re stopping it) or immediately do the replacement habit.
  6. Finally you’ll start catching yourself BEFORE it happens and you can NOT do it or do the replacement habit in it’s place.

Even once you’ve gone through this series of steps of becoming aware and catching yourself After/During/Before you may still find this habit pops up every now and then.  Just notice it when it does and again either remind yourself you want to stop this, or do the new replacement habit.

Programming is “long-haul”, life-time sort of thing so this process may take a little while (usually a few months), but if you are willing to put in the time – it is possible to stop or change habit you no longer want.

A CAVEAT – I have never tried this with ADDICTIVE habits like smoking (etc).  I do not know if it would work as well in that case.   I do know a great hypnotherapist however, that can and does help with that sort of thing.

Until the next time, keep laughing – maybe it will become a habit, you never know.

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