Habits: Sabotaging or Empowering? Problems can sometimes seem never ending. But when chaos becomes the norm rather than the exception, it’s definitely the time to stop and reframe your life with new, empowering habits. One of the challenges we all encounter when forming new habits is our inability to examine ourselves, to be present and […]
Problems can sometimes seem never ending. But when chaos becomes the norm rather than the exception, it’s definitely the time to stop and reframe your life with new, empowering habits.
One of the challenges we all encounter when forming new habits is our inability to examine ourselves, to be present and aware of our feelings and sensations in a non-judgmental way.
The French philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Psycologists have evaluated the fact that people in general have a tough time being alone or doing nothing. In one experiment, researchers allowed people to choose to receive a small electric shock instead of staying in a quiet room for 15 minutes. Half of the participants chose to leave early even if it meant taking the electric shock! (Wilson et al., 2014).
To make significant and meaningful changes we need to be present, aware and intentional. We need to understand the why behind the change. In other words, we need to focus on the values that inspire our goals. Beyond that, we can choose something that adds value, joy, or meaning to our lives and the lives of others. An empowering habit is one that is not only intrinsically valuable, but also sustainable – one that naturally brings about momentum and motivation.
Habits are the first steps towards creating a system that facilitates our individual goals. As we learned on our last blog, we can find ways to break activation energy barriers and create new habits that bring about the change we wish to see in our lives.
Whether you wish to make more time for your loved one, find purpose, change your career path, or improve your overall well-being, understanding the fundamental value behind your goals will help you get started. Once you have your internal compass pointed towards your north star, you can form empowering habits and systems that keep you in that direction.
Change does not come easy. Creating a new habit is a challenging undertaking, but one that comes with immeasurable rewards.
Learning and regularly practicing a few steps or techniques will help you get started in forming lifelong habits:
We at the BEE ME Project are your partners in change, your catalysts, and your support system as you move towards a happier, flourishing life. Here, we have listed some examples of empowering habits you might want to incorporate into your daily life, such as;
Regular meditation can help you form a healthier perspective because you are not trying to turn off your thoughts, feelings or sensations but instead observe them without judgment.
There are many forms of meditation but you can start by simply paying attention to your breathing or doing a body scan focusing on each part of your body from your toes to your head. Any activity or action that requires your full attention can be considered a form of meditation.
Creating a meditation habit is particularly useful as it can serve as a starting point for forming many other empowering habits, such as
Practicing gratitude will grow your ability to appreciate small things like a beautiful sunrise or sunset, an unexpected rainbow, receiving a kind gesture from a stranger, finding less traffic on the road. The possibilities are endless. Living your life with gratitude will boost your health and improve your relationships. Gratitude could be as simple as waking up and acknowledging you get another day.
If you choose to start a habit of running every day, take the time to set achievable goals. Instead of deciding to run five miles to start, focus on running one mile. Take the time to notice your environment. You will soon realize that it does not take as much effort as you initially imagined and will want to increase your distance or pace.
You can develop or enhance your reading habits by following some simple steps:
1. Set a reading schedule
2. Surround yourself with interesting reading materials.
3. Make a list
4. Find a comfortable location
5. Minimize distraction.
6. Read to others/your kids
7. Track your progress.
In a similar way, journaling can relieve stress, improve immunity, enhance memory, boost moods and regulate your emotion. Something as simple as putting your thoughts, emotions and ideas on paper can help you gain great perspective.
Connecting with others opens your mind and enhances your creativity. It also provides you with opportunities for personal development.
You can form a habit of making genuine connections by taking simple steps:
1. Making time for your important relationships
2. Being open and non-judgmental of others
3. Being honest about yourself
4. Sharing activities and ideas
5. Engaging in community activities and volunteering.
You will find that by making genuine human connections you will experience a mental boost and you will find life more fulfilling and meaningful.
We all have behavioral patterns that prevent us from living our best lives. The root causes of this behavior are complex and multifaceted.
In some instances, these habits bring some sort of instant gratification.
We procrastinate because we want to avoid a situation or task.
We seek perfection because we know is unattainable, which provides a built-in excuse for failure.
We get defensive in the face of criticism to protect our ego rather than learning from failure.
In other cases, they are the symptoms of unresolved feelings and emotions.
Thinking back at the study we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, why are people so uncomfortable sitting alone with their thoughts that they would rather take an electric shock?
Many of us have difficulty dealing with negative thoughts and emotions that lurk in the back of our minds. As such, we seek to distract ourselves with external activities. The more we repress our internal thoughts, the more we compulsively seek external stimulation to occupy our attention.
This kind of self-rejection tends to lead to self-destructive behaviors and habits, including engaging in dangerous activities and developing addictions.
Although eliminating negative habits can be harder than creating new positive ones, let us invest some time and effort in eliminating or reducing some of our self-sabotaging habits by embracing awareness, intention, acceptance and trust.
Let us explore some of the most common self-sabotaging habits:
Breaking self-sabotaging habits requires a conscious commitment to change. Self-awareness, mindfulness, attention and intention are key. Identifying triggers and seeking support will go a long way in reversing some of your negative habits.
Here are some steps you can take to change your self-sabotaging habits:
Overcoming self-sabotaging habits takes time and effort. Be patient and stay committed to your goals. Change is a process and with perseverance and dedication, you can replace self-sabotaging habits with empowering habits. Setting goals, practicing self-care, and cultivating awareness, presence and intention can help you break the cycle of self-sabotage and move towards a more meaningful, joyful and fulfilling life.
Learn how to do this and much more in our upcoming BEE ME Foundations course, a guided course in a supportive community helping you reclaim and reconnect to your holistic self.