What do your habits say about you?
Our beliefs lead to our feelings, and our feelings lead to our actions. Our actions lead to our habits, our habits lead to our lifestyles, and our lifestyles lead to our destinies. It all starts with our beliefs. Think about what you believe about yourself, the world, other people, opportunities, money, politicians, your parents, etc. When you question your beliefs, you open the door to new possibilities. You examine where you are and where you are going. If you never question or check in with your feelings and habits, you are on autopilot and you may not be going where you want to go.
When you are run by habits, you no longer control your trajectory. Your habits do. When I first heard the saying that you create your habits and then your habits create you, I didn’t know what it meant. After I pondered it and rolled it around in my consciousness, I understood. If I do something for a while, then I no longer think about it. I just continue doing it. For example, most of us are in the habit of brushing our teeth every day, twice a day. We reap the rewards of no cavities. If we forget to brush once in a while, we might need some fillings, depending on our teeth and whether we had fluoride growing up. However, if you don’t brush your teeth, you will have cavities and crowns, and maybe even need false teeth. Brushing your teeth is a little thing, or so it seems, but this habit affects your health. You don’t get cavities overnight. You don’t have pain the first time you skip brushing your teeth. You can go for some time without even knowing there’s a problem. Then one day you wake up with a toothache. When you look back at your habits, you realize that you created the toothache.
It’s the same with your life. You have created where you are right now by following your habits. The question is whether your habits have gotten you what you wanted, or whether you are living with the habits that were handed down to you from your family and friends.
The following concept comes from Bob Proctor, but is in my own words and understanding.
The conscious mind is everything in our awareness: what we think about, what we observe, where we make decisions, where we do our thinking, etc. It can process about forty bits of information a second. It filters the information coming in and keeps what you believe. It can accept or reject any idea based on your belief system.
The subconscious mind is the powerhouse inside of you. It runs the body, muscle movement, breathing, digestion, homeostasis, things of that nature. It is also where your habits and emotions are. It has no filters. It accepts new information without judgment. It can process about twenty million bits of information per second. That is five hundred thousand times faster than the conscious mind. It picks up everything. Your conscious mind can’t do that.
Let’s look at an example. You were talking to someone and got a funny feeling. You liked what the person was saying, but something didn’t jive. That was your subconscious mind telling you that the person’s body language and tonality didn’t match the words. Because the subconscious mind can process information so much faster than the conscious mind, it picks up the incongruities. The conscious mind makes the decisions, but the subconscious mind runs your life.
We all have habits that put us on autopilot. Take a moment and think about yours. Do you have good habits and bad ones? What about those habits that are unproductive? What habits should you break? When I took the time to think about this, I realized there were habits that had to go and ones that had to be made. How about you? Choose a new belief and take action.
I was able to tame my fear of heights by learning how to rock climb. (I had a habit of not getting more than two feet off the ground.) I was attending the University of Utah in the fall of 1987. I remember fraternity week like it was yesterday. On my way to class, I walked past the library and did a double take. There was a group of people repelling down the side of the building. It looked scary and exciting all at the same time. Did I mention I tend to be an adrenalin junky? I went over and asked if I could try it. They got me in the harness and explained the voice signals and hand placement. It wasn’t very long repel but I was hooked. I spent four years in the Army and loved the physical and mental challenges. If I hadn’t of taken a chance, I never would have known.
You need to step outside your comfort zone and make some changes from time to time. It may be an entirely new path in your life that you might have missed otherwise.