Old Habits Can (and do) Indeed Die Hard
You know, when we go through a period of improvement it means changing some old habits and replacing them with new ones. Now the brain has many comparisons made to it being like that of a computer. You have probably heard of these analogies.
For example, your brain pumps out the information you program into it; you can replace old programs with new ones and other such examples. And these are fairly accurate.
Where the brain does not resemble a computer is when it is time for it to start deleting the files you no longer wish to use. There isn’t any Trash that you can simply dump unwanted habits in to. You then cannot simply proceed to Empty Trash and hey presto, the files disappear and are no longer in use.
In other words, your brain cannot simply let go of old habits you no longer wish to have working in your life, as easily as a computer can simply delete unwanted programs and reinstall new ones.
Just yesterday an old habit of mine resurfaced; I lost my temper. Something I seldom do anymore (Why I lost it is not important). For those people who know me well, they know that patience, or a lack of it, can be my achilles heel. But this was more than impatience, it was temper. I had deleted that file more than probably 20 years ago. Or so I thought.
So an old program that I thought had vanished reared its not so nice head.
According to research contained in Charles Duhiggs’ great book, The Power of Habit, it suggests that some habits are never totally eradicated. My guess is they are filed away in some dark recess of our unconscious mind.
Other research in his book, and there is a lot of it, says that most habits take anything from 60 days to 12 months to change and be replaced by new ones. My opinion on this is that it may well depend on how entrenched or wired into your nervous system this unwanted habit is.
What does this mean to you? Well if you are going through personal transformation be mindful that it can take time to change. To replace a habit requires effort and a big dash of patience, if you are trying to change them on your own. A good mentor or coach, I believe, can speed up this process considerably by breaking the pattern. I do this for my clients to extremely good effect.
The most important task whilst going through this change is not to beat yourself up if the unwanted habit keeps popping back into your life on occasion.
I remember when I was 26 or 27 I spent a whole year replacing old thinking habits. Everyday I used self-hypnosis techniques, subliminal tapes and affirmations in order to get the desired change I wanted. A year.
So keep at it. Be persistent. The old habit may well not die completely but at least it won’t be in use anymore. Your effort and patience will ensure the new habit becomes the dominant one.
Your success will largely depend on how much you actually want to rid yourself of old defeating habits and live a life with brand new ones that serve you.