Are your HABITS controlling YOU? Or are you controlling them?

Here at MOST LIFE we cover one of our eight themes each week.

This week we cover “M” for Meaning

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Get into a NEW HABIT– one of Gratitude

Do you control your habits or do your habits control you?

Habits are repeated actions. They embed in our mind (and body) when we add emotions and physical movement. The powerful addition of thoughts, action and emotions is what creates our character through habits. This is a powerful formula to understand and we can control it.  But, many of us do not control this powerful mix that adds up to our habits. Typically our habits are formed without our “permission”.

What do I mean? Without our permission? I consciously do everything, no one is forcing me to drink coffee, drive with anxiety, yell at my kids?

All of these habits, actions that are repeated, have created who you are. And, if you do not like some of these habits, or if they are NO LONGER serving your best interests, YOU can change them.

Let me rephrase, these habits may be serving your short-term best interests, but perhaps they are not empowering your best self.

The difference between your best interests and empowering your best self is that one serves your immediate needs based on fear, pride, ego (best interests) and one serves your needs for growth, learning, and moving forward with your life goals.

Let me give you a real example, from my life that will illustrate this: As a step-mom I was in the situation of helping raise two kids, they were ages 5 and 11 when I came into their lives.  We had a decent relationship for the first few years, but when puberty and adolescence and teenage “stuff” came up, the dynamics changed. It was in my best interests to discipline, and “be the adult” along with their natural parents. But, the dynamic I got myself into started to feed my ego and sense of power.  I created a habit of being upset and frustrated all the time with their actions. It got to the point that all I did was to think about something they might have done and I would have an emotional reaction. That emotional reaction embedded itself in my mind and my heart and my body. It eventually caused me to be downright angry and upset far too often.

Can you relate to this?

An emotional reaction so deep and moving that it changes who you are? I spent years being someone else because I was trapped in a habit. This habit served my best interests, because I didn’t know how else to survive. But, looking back I can see that I was so stuck. Not every habit is as strongly embedded, but many are. The way we got there is the same way we get out.

I know several people who have become runners and changed their habits around exercise.  This is how they do it. Attach powerful feelings to action and thoughts, repeat, repeat, repeat!  

“We must change our emotional response to things, we must change our thinking, we must embed powerful emotions into the habit WE WANT to have.”

Let’s review the habit of gratitude and how you can embed the new habit easily into your life. Gratitude will take us to many places that empower us. When our habit is one of gratitude, we react differently, because we think differently.

Changing our thinking, changing our emotions and doing it repeatedly, changes us. I can hear the, “I don’t want to change who I am!” If you are reading this, there is something more you want. There is something you are seeking. Deep down you know there is a better you and a better life for you.

The key to this better you, this MOST LIFE you, is mastering your habits. As one who is constantly working on my habits, I will tell you that embedding gratitude is one of the easier paths to take.

It is so easy to get caught up in the media hype and noise that fuel our emotions that don’t serve us. Today’s fast paced world causes a HABIT of chaos. We must CONSCIOUSLY break through to find our “real self”.

Practice monitoring your reactions, because they are coming from somewhere. Do you feel you need to be a certain way because it’s a habit? Do you say, “I need to drink coffee every afternoon to get through work!” (Best short-term interests) and then wonder why you are keyed up in the evening and can’t sleep? Think about it.

This section is meant to build you up, not tear you down, so when we flip the question to gratitude it softens the approach.

“I am grateful for being a bit sluggish this afternoon, it tells me I have worked hard and am using my brain and body. (Using gratitude to change the thought). I need to take care of my body, since it takes care of me. (New empowering thought and action coming.) I will make sure I drink adequate water today to give my body what it needs.”

This change in one simple habit, repeated, can make a profound difference in your life over time!

Control your thoughts.

From “I need something” , to—” I am grateful for…”

Control your emotional responses.

From “I must have”, to —-”I want to… because it is good for me.”

Control your actions.

From habitual RE-ACTION to—- empowering NEW action.

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