How much of your life is habit? Well, Charles Duhigg, in his book The power of habit (Doubleday, 2012), quotes a Duke University researcher who in 2006 found that more than 40% of the actions of people performed each day were not actually decisions, but habits.
Hard to believe? Then read Joe Dispenza’s book, You are the placebo (Hay House, 2014.) He maintains that by age thirty-five, 95% of who you are is a set of memorized behaviors, skills, emotional reactions, beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes that function like a subconscious automatic computer program.
Your brain is a great time manager; it is always looking for ways to increase efficiency and free up resources for other activities. So repeat any activity often enough, and it will become a subconscious behavior.
You don’t even have to think about the hundreds of activities that you do on a regular basis — from morning routines to driving to work in the morning.
The problem is not so much forming habits, as it is breaking them. We are today what we have done, believed and thought in years gone by. As Joe Dispenza puts it, “you are living in the past…and the past is your future.”
You may not like your current situation, but change is difficult. What you do, how you think, your attitude are all comfortable, effortless and automatic.
No wonder so many thought leaders are now promoting mindfulness. You have to shake yourself from habit long enough to focus on who you have become — your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and physical sensations — and decide to change those things you’re not happy about.
To change, you have to start by changing your thoughts. It’s your thoughts that determine your choices, which in turn determine your behaviors, and ultimately how you experience life.
It takes effort to change since you have only 5% of the conscious you to chip away at the 95% that is already set in its ways. But you are the master of your brain, and when you repeat a thought or an experience often enough, your brain cells are making stronger connections in the direction you want to go.
And you are consciously forming the habits that you really want, and creating a new life in the process. I would recommend the two books mentioned above to accompany you on your journey.