So what is a habit? Eating a piece of chocolate sends positive feedback to the brain and dopamine is released a result. So what does that mean? We will good. Now our brain has linked the idea of eating chocolate with feeling good. So why people say they have comfort foods it is because their brains have developed this feedback look of: wanting to feed good -> eat a piece of to chocolate -> sugar rush and dopamine release in the brain. This is the basic breakdown of our habit loops. A cue followed by a habit which then yields a result.
Without careful attention to this, such habits can start to become subconscious. So you brush your teeth every night before bed, and probably at around the same time. It’s probably very mindless for you. I’m sure you can even chat with your friends or even scroll through your instagram and like the latest updates from those cool travel blogs you follow (guilty). Now this doesn’t seem so bad right? I mean, we get to clean our teeth and enjoy a little bit of distraction/entertainment in the process.
Now what you do the same except instead of brushing your teeth and looking through your phone. You replace these habits with eating chocolate and sitting in front of the TV. Something just as mindless right? Well suddenly you’ll have found yourself a little bigger. Then a couple months down the road, you’ve put on twenty pounds. What happened you ask? It’s not like you’re doing anything out of the ordinary, so where did all this weight come from?
This is the negative side of the formation of habits. The idea of a habit is too give the mind space and energy to be able to make conscious decisions on what is important throughout the day. Like prepping for an interview or studying for your exam next week. Imagine if we woke up every and had to consciously decide to go to the washroom, turn on the shower, shampoo your hair and so… By 8am, our brains would be so exhausted from all the decisions we’ve made in the first hour or two we’ve been up the though of trying to learn new material or do all those math problems would be daunting. So our brains have developed habits to make our lives easier for the most part. On the other hand, if we start developing bad habits such as staying up too late or eating junk food all the time, they also become mindless and can do a lot of harm to ourselves and the people around us.
So I think it is very important to start and take note of all the things you do each and everyday. You don’t have to make any changes but just become aware of the first things you do when you wake up and the last things you do before you go to bed. Eventually, you will start to notice that there are things you do in the morning which contributes to giving you energy during the day, like a nice long shower, or taking away energy from your day, like skipping breakfast. And this will not only allow you to become more self aware, but also allow you to become more in touch with all the key habits in your life and to start to take control on promoting good habits and start to de-clutter the bad ones.
I’ve noticed that I started a lot of my posts with one topic at hand, and after the first paragraph, or sometimes the first sentence, my focus tends to trail off on to something different. I wouldn’t say it trails off to a brand new topic, but rather a different area of focus than originally intended. I am not quite sure why this happens. I think its mostly because I don’t do much preparation before I do these blog posts.
I guess that is going to be something I am going to start working on.
Another thought is I want to start keeping a notebook with me at all times and write down all the thoughts that come to my mind everyday. Then at the end of everyday, I will spend a solid 20 minutes to sort out such thoughts digitally. Not sure if I want to do this on the blog or just keep it on my Evernote. First things first, I will have to start doing the note taking. I have found it very helpful to help me remember things and to put some distance between me and my thoughts.