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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Does 30 Days Of Action Create New Habits?

Just because you will yourself to perform an action for 30 days, does not mean that you have created a habit. By definition, a habit is what guides your actions when you are not acting consciously, and therefore habits are domain of your subconscious mind.

Your subconscious is the collective programming that is an end result (the judgment) of all you have ever heard, said, felt, and experienced, and as such it is a very powerful force to try to overcome. In fact most people live life so unconsciously that who they are from day to day is more a product of habit, than of their conscious mind. So when attempting to create new habits, if your subconscious believes there is no value to that new action, or that the rewards of not doing it are greater than doing it, when you stop being actively conscious, you will revert to your long established patterns of behavior.

Example: We all know that eating a healthy diet is good for you, but if your body has become habituated to filling your emotional needs through the changes in biochemistry caused by a high fat, high sugar diet, over the course of several decades, your subconscious mind will learn to cling to the rewards of high fat, sugary treats, rather than the discipline of eating well. Dieting is so hard, because you are fighting a battle against your habituated beliefs as well as your body chemistry.

The reason why most New Year's Resolutions fail is that people are so focused on the outcome that they fail to think about why they aren't already there. Doing is important, but until you examine your beliefs and habits, you will keep stumbling before the finish line.

How did you let yourself get 100 pounds overweight? It didn't happen overnight. How did you allow yourself to get months behind in your work? You must identify the habits that support what you do not want, if you want to progress consistently towards what you want.

The greatest challenge of our age is that we have all been taught to look externally for solutions to internal problems. What you experience outside of yourself is just a reflection of what is inside of yourself. The problem is not that it is hard to work without reading your emails, rather that some part of you values reading your emails (or doing anything or nothing) over doing your job. You can make yourself not read emails, but the habit will remain dormant within you until you either confront the source of your compulsion, or you attach a different value to the task that you habitually avoid. Until you develop a stronger motivation to get things done, odds are you are only putting a band aid on your issue instead of resolving it.

Therefore, when people pursue 30 days of action to make a change, it isn't just the action you take that matters, but more importantly what you believe, think, and feel while committing that action that will determine whether you are creating a habit, or if you are just overriding the subconscious through an exercise in will power.

Mario Wells is a motivational coach/speaker/writer whose life purpose is to encourage people to overcome the fears that limit them so that they can begin living the life they were born to lead. He is currently working on his first book and anticipates its completion by April 2008. Visit http://www.wakeuplife.org for coaching challenges, inspirational quotes, motivational movies, and articles that will help to encourage you to begin living the life of your dreams. Your dream is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

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