Habits: Directing Your Life Intentionally

Our brains are the most amazing organ. It organizes and integrates an incredible amount of data quickly… allowing us to operate on “auto-pilot” for much of our day. Our brains create well worn pathways so that we can do routine tasks without shifting our focus to them. How to harness the strength of this amazing gift and create the life we want? By understanding HOW to intentionally form our habits.

What is a habit?

Habits are behaviors we perform on a regular basis where some component of the behavior is considered “automatic.” Forming new habits requires repetition.

Developing desired healthy habits is something we can direct our brain to do.

Dr Diaz works with patients to help them build habits and reach their goals.

Habits are pathways in the brain that have formed through repetition. The repetitive pattern starts with a cue from the environment which triggers a behavioral response and is reinforced with a reward. The well known Pavlov’s Experiment demonstrates the principle.

In order to create a new, healthy habit—or even to break a bad habit—you must be as intentional as possible with all three parts: cue, behavior, reward. Manipualting our environment to introduce cues to intentionally associate with a desired behavior and reinforce with a reward is the foundation.

Changing your life habits can be simpler than you may think. With a few tricks, you can gain or lose any habits you’d like.

Understanding these tips will help you stick to healthy habits and break bad ones as you work toward your health and wellness goals. Focus on the cue.

In order to create new habits, we need to focus on the cue, NOT the behavior.

Let’s say you want to start practice daily meditation. Instead of focusing on time meditating, focus on developing the routine around the practice of meditation.

Choose a cue that already occurs regularly in your daily life, such as drinking morning coffee. While developing your meditation habit, focus effort on getting ready to meditate while you brew the coffee. Meditate for 2 minutes. Reward yourself with the coffee afterwards.

Develop the habit of prepping for meditation. Don’t focus on the behavior… you can start with 2 minutes and gradually build up to your targeted time.

After a while, you’ll start to notice that when you get up to get coffee (environmental cue), it takes little to no effort to mediate (habitual response).

You may even start to look forward to it…and feel something in your life is off when you do not meditate…. And that’s the power of habit!

HABITS VS GOALS – Don’t confuse habits with goals.
Goals are great, but putting habits in place that move you toward your goals are key. The goal is the destination and the habit is the journey. Build healthy habits by starting today.

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