Habits are automatic behaviors, a relic of our evolutionary past. Hack further and improve faster!
We now know the merits of intentional mindful living. Meditation and mindfulness work in many ways to positively affect your mind.
How could mindfulness interact with habits? You increase your cognitive abilities by mindful attention in all of your activities, allowing elimination of negative habits. The steps are roughly the three bullets below:
- Entering the habit state: Positive habitual actions allow you to lose focus, going into a less mindful and more primitive state.
- Shifting to a proactive state: What you can shift to do is have the practice of continuous-attention improvement states, In these states, as your attention shifts around from one aspect (thing) to another, add in the mindful practice of considering – can this aspect can be improved?
- Stay proactive: This extra focus is something your brain may initially resist, for biological reasons which you can overcome. Your brain will fight extra thought as an energy consuming threat to your survival. This threat is almost meaningless in an age of available energy, abundant food and other energy sources, and the understanding that using our minds less is likely to be a less happy state.
For habits you are aware of – positive and negative – you can recognize them as they “kick in” during your life. Form a sort of “meta-habit” to habitually observe your habits in action, and make them more of a mindful activity again (the way they were before they became habits).
You want to exercise more? Use the another of the hacks to stage your success… such as the “start it small” or the “proximity plan” (set up something close to y ou) ones. Develop a mindset to do a small bit, such as “just one minute”. Put on your clothes, pack your clothes, pick a gym that is on your way home, and such.
Then add in an accountability aspect. Tell people, post on social media, whatever. But add a twist to avoid the “it feels like I already did it” feeling:
- Put it as a future-positioned question: “Ask me how I did at the gym… I’m leaving soon!”
- Instead of “I’m going to exercise more this month” with a photo of someone working out, try “I will overcome my inertia, and you can find me at the gym”.
And, in general, the focus you put on something means you are giving less time and attention to something else. Push away the negative habits and routines by crowding them out with positive ones.
Flourish with focus!