Habits and Happiness 10: Its a cycle just keep going

Let’s look at Habits in terms of the famous team bonding cycle. Habit forming is very easy. I find it incredibly easy to visit my very convivial local pub and very easy indeed to get into a round with some really interesting mates. I also find it easy to avoid good habits like going to the health club, to take up episodic bad habits like the full Irish breakfast I had at a recent coaching event in Belfast.

In my mind "forming" the habit changing approach is easy. I want to do something different so off I resolve to change the habit. My resolve is high just as the commitment of new team members is that stage of Tuck’s famous team building cycle. Storming is when I began to realise that there are lots of competing habits all vying for attention and the brain aspect of these is taking over. My long term "thoughtful"l brain knows I want to eat that healthy pasta and go to the gym but my greedy short term brain( my inner Rab C Nesbitt) wants the rolls in sausage or the beer. It’s fairly simple. If I don’t get through that phase I won’t get to where I should be which is the "norming" bit. At this stage I have hopefully "normalised" and accepted the better habit into my consciousness just as a team accepts each other and gets down to work after the fireworks of forming. But even when you are doing that your amazing and brilliant brain, that kilo of consciousness knowledge and memory, all 100 billion neurons can be deceiving you by saying : "he’s changed that habit he is thinking differently". But results are what counts and that why it’s necessary to think of a habit ultimately in terms of "performing". Is real change being delivered.

My brain like yours, like all brains loves to make connections so the word cycle has fired up few of my synapses to make the connection between the cycle as process of evolving change to the cycle as in the posh name for bike. Anyway performing is a bit like dispensing with the stabilisers which helped you as a child to ride a bike. For a while you need support mum or dad holding the saddle, then just the stabilisers. Then one day someone who loves you deeply and wants you to succeed, lifts the stabilisers away and sees if you can go solo. Think of your brain determined as it is to perpetuate your genes, which is its ultimate purpose, really wanting you to succeed. It keeps stabilisers like motivation and drive to help you get there, and it also makes you feel bad when you don’t. I am sure my brain would much rather I was ligher and fitter. But it’s not easy and ultimately only I can take the action and see the results. I think this goes back to the evidence on habit forming which is now much less conclusive than some of the more lightweight self help gurus had us believe, but I think when I get the change I seek it will be enduring.So, I'll keep going!

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