Category Archives: Habits

Why is it SO hard to change?

The frustration of seemingly insurmountable obstacles

I was chatting to a friend the other day. His dad has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and we were talking about his options.

I told him 4 or 5 lifestyle changes to put into place immediately as well as how to research treatment options.

“Not a hope in hell of him doing that,” my friend said. I wasn’t shocked or offended. Many people would rather die than change their ways. And then he naturally asked “Why is it SO hard to change?” Continue reading

Automatic health

Jump for JoyThe idea of automatic health has been floating around in my mind for a while, so I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard :-)

Everything that works, it seems to me, is based on systems. You know… the Earth goes around the sun in a predictable way and you can look at everything from biochemistry to business to electronics to whatever, to see it’s all systems…

What you want, what we all want… is simply to feel good. Everything you do, you do for one reason only — to have a good feeling. And the fact is, what we’re doing as a whole, doesn’t have that outcome. The system just ain’t working…

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The 6 reasons New Year’s resolutions fail

Do you want to finally be able to stick to your New Year’s resolutions?

Do you want to look good, feel good and have plenty of energy in the New Year?

We know what we want. What’s seriously lacking is how to get it — how to lose weight, how to get ourselves to exercise, how to eat healthily and so on. We know we should but when it comes to that critical moment we cave…

Often, all our good intentions are crushed by the most minuscule set back. How easily we cave!

We go around and around in circles — attempting, failing, giving up, getting fed up and back to another attempt which is equally doomed to failure!

Of course, we know when our lifestyle is having bad consequences. And every New Year our attention is focused in on our own particular lifestyle issues. It’s time for a fresh start, to put the past behind us and look to the future. Mentally we just love the idea of a new year for making changes… Continue reading

How to overcome addiction to negative thinking and the habit of association

Peter asks…

“Almost all my life I’ve been addicted to negative thinking and I’ve been diagnosed with the possibility of OCD. I have a few problems that I’m working on — the most annoying is this one:

My mind somehow got in the habit of bringing back experiences that I hate from the past, and attaching them to the things or activities that I do like — it sounds weird but I’ll give an example:

If I’m cutting some paper — some decoration, and I hear a name of someone that I hate on the radio, my mind digs the old bad experiences up — and tries to attach it to the cutting. So next time when I do a similar cutting, my mind will probably pick that emotion and I will go through it again.

I’m trying to manage this by focusing on something else. But the problem is that when I try to hide that memory which was just brought to me, I can’t simply think of something positive, because I’m afraid the bad memory will get associated with it.

I was reading an article about this:

“Letting go” of something that is bothering you means refusing to dwell on it, obsess over it, focus on it, worry about it, fume over it, and so on. Instead, you simply set it aside and turn your attention to other tasks that don’t upset you….

This is exactly what’s almost impossible for me, because the positive things get associated with the negative ones… sometimes I’m even scared to talk with some people on some days (the days I wanna do something that I like), as those people might mention the names of people that I hated.

I’m afraid the few things that I enjoy will get corrupted by association with bad memories.

By the way, I have no other problems with moods etc.

I think that first: my mind is addicted to a negative thinking. At least one negative thought at the time must be worked on in my head (since I was a little – old bad habit). And also I think that my mind should just get a little bit stupider, in order to not be that attentive/watchful to every little thing. I sometimes cant believe how quickly it can bring up some memory once it’s triggered by something… and that thing just runs though my head in a few seconds and starts to bother me.

Why does my mind just try to destroy everything I like?

That’s what I don’t understand… normal regular people — when something bad happens or when something they hate is recalled in their heads — they simply focus on things they like and bad things are gone… not in my case. I’m even afraid to do anything like that because bad thoughts could be brought next time along with it.

This habit of associating is kind of a new thing — last 2-3 years.

Any ideas what I can do / practice etc?

Thank you in advance.”

OK, let’s start with the big stuff… the very big info you need for a new mindset and understanding about how your brain works. When you have a better understanding of how it works, you’ll be able to get your mind to work for you.

The big stuff is this: Attention is the volume control for thoughts.

Factors feeding attention in your case are meaning and habit…

An idea you give meaning to has a certain QUALITY, and that quality determines how it affects you subconsciously. For example, you have fear attached to some of these ideas and so you mind will play patterns designed to protect you from real life dangers such as lions. The way your mind responds is the same and can include a fight or flight response (anxiety) plus lots of attention plus very easily made ASSOCIATIONS… Continue reading

Watch your thoughts

This quote/poem by an unknown author contains IMMENSE wisdom. It’s great to ponder this one…

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

The big surprise may be that habits become character, but it’s absolutely true. If you watch a small child looking admiringly at someone, you’ll see they are absorbing mannerisms and subtle behavior they like.

They observe, absorb and copy behavior until it is habit — instinctively…

Over the next few hours, they become like a copy of the person they were intently focused on. Have you ever noticed that? Have a think about all those formative years… a long, long time observing, absorbing and copying that sets into habit, into character… Continue reading

Meditation habit

Wayne Dyer was talking about his friendship with Deepak Chopra in a talk he gave.

“Whenever I had a problem and would talk to Deepak about it, his answer was always the same — meditate…”

I’m paraphrasing but that’s very interesting I think. Whatever your problem, meditate.

If you’ve got a problem, really, the last thing you want to do is keep focusing on the problem. The solutions don’t come from focusing on the problem, they come from focusing on the solutions… Continue reading

How to take control of your life

It’s so easy to feel that you’re not in control of your own life…

One of the biggest reasons is a subtle but powerful force that controls and directs our actions.

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. In fact it takes pride of place in Happy Guide

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

None other than the great philosopher Aristotle said that.

Another of my favorite sayings is “Once you know something, you see it everywhere.” You know, I’d never come across the Aristotle quote before writing Happy Guide, or at least I wasn’t aware of it.

I’m now hyper aware of habit, and the fact that it’s the underlying force behind all the outcomes in our lives… Continue reading

How to NOT do something

Like riding a bike…

Everything that comprises a healthy and happy life involves taking action — getting to bed at a reasonable time, exercising, preparing healthy food and so-on.

But getting there often involves stopping some behavior that you currently do.

Of the two objectives — starting a new thing or stopping the old thing, the “stopping” is way harder.

Doing a new thing is mainly about motivation and giving it sufficient attention to make it a habit, whereas stopping the old thing is akin to “unlearning” how to ride a bike say…

The fact is it can’t be done easily. If you learned to ride a bike when you were young, as most of us did, then you’ll always be able to do it. It’s like, well, riding a bike… Continue reading

How to break bad habits — checklist

Check, check, check…

Bad habits are tricky!

This “trickiness” is why the bad habits section in Happy Guide is SHORT.

And it’s short so that you can read it as many times as you need to get absolutely clear on HOW to do it…

Creating new good habits is much easier because you have a blank canvas.

With your bad habits, you’re trying to redirect your attention to stop them playing out. Repeat this every time and soon you have a new habit — job done.

Stopping yourself doing bad things is critical so you need to get really clear. Before you begin, check that you… Continue reading