Cultivating Habits – Part – II

“When you really want to achieve something, the entire universe conspires to help you achieve that”.

 

A lot of us would have either heard or read this piece of wise advice.

 

What this quote misses though is the tough part.  The part where you have to create and follow habits, which are in perfect alignment with the desired goal.  We all fall prey to bad habits quickly, whereas good ones are tough to follow.

 

Why does this happen?

 

A bad habit is a habit too and our brain cannot differentiate between a good and a bad one.  For the brain, it is just a matter of repetition.  What gets repeated is construed as important and thus leads to release of good hormones (like dopamine) which strengthens this repetition loop.  Dopamine is like a reward and the more we get it, the more we crave for it.

 

The good news is dopamine and endorphins gets released even when we are performing repeatedly habits, which are good, like exercising.  People, who exercise often, get this surge of endorphins and dopamine once they complete their physical activity and this compels them to repeat it more often, leading to the development of a good habit.

 

We can use this discovery to create better habits.  The critical aspect her is the reward part.  If we can reward ourselves every time we do something good, we will crave to do it repeatedly.  This also leads to a day where instead of an external reward our brain will put us on a high, with the surge of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which is a human body’s natural reward system.  Then even if the chocolate is removed, which we would reward ourselves with, post a strenuous workout, we will still carry on with our new habits.

 

The trickier part is ‘The Willpower’ here.  How we manage, it is something we will discuss in the next post.

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