06 Dec Good habits are difficult to form, but it is easy to live with
Humans are known to be victims of their habits. Most habits are formed in the first five years of life when we were not even aware of what was happening around us. At that age, we followed our inner instincts and copied our surroundings, thus creating in our minds matrices that continued to develop through the period of education and entry into professional sphere.
Everything that we do consciously in the beginning slowly becomes a habit, until we start doing it unconsciously. That is how we learned to walk, ride a bike, drive a car and the like. A huge part of our learned behaviour is necessary and desirable, because the more adopted routine habits we have, the more time the brain has to dedicate to conscious thinking and creative action. There are a large number of unwanted and harmful habits that slow down persons in realising their potential.
A Spanish proverb says: “Habits start like a spider’s web and end like a rope!”
Every time we repeat an action, our neurons form a spider’s web with each other, crossing synapses so that the information between them flows faster and without resistance. Remember when you first got in the car and faced: clutch, brake, gas, transmission, mirrors, turn signals, lights, wipers, siren, etc. You had never done that before and then you needed to develop synchronised movements.
As every hour of driving passes you find it easier and easier. Why? Because the brain weaves a spider’s web connecting the neurons that command all the necessary movements. On average, the brain needs to repeat the same action 21 times to create a spider’s web. How many hours does driving training last? The answer is 40 hours in the most common schedule of 20 lessons lasting 2 hours. And we drive once at the testing. Sum 21.
After 90 repetitions, the spider’s web between neurons already turns into a rope and becomes a strong habit. People who drive for years have full automatism of their movements so that they do not think consciously about even 5% of the body’s activity while driving.
Why is it difficult to change a habit? Imagine driving a car with the steering wheel on the left for 10 years and, by coincidence, sitting in a car with the steering wheel on the right. Is driving easy right away or not?
And what does a radical change of habit mean? Imagine the same thing, only in England, in addition to the fact that your steering wheel is on the right side, you also drive on the left side of the road and enter the roundabout? And how is it going?
Many threads in your brain are now causing serious problems and you need to make new connections between neurons to drive again with ease in this situation as well, but it takes time, patience and persistent repetition.
Plenty of research has been done on human habits and I was interested in those that refer to situations in which people usually decide to change something from the bottom up. Three situations stood out:
- HEALTH PROBLEM– this situation is in the first place by far. This is the strongest trigger for the seriousness of understanding the situation and the persistence to change something truly.
- FINANCIAL PROBLEM– this is another situation that makes people get out of the comfort zone and start changing something in their life.
- LEGAL PROBLEM– this is the third situation in which a person realises that something must truly and radically change.
As you can see in all three cases, there is a problem. The fact that the man is cornered and there is almost no choice.
And what about desire? What about this powerful motivator? Why is fear such a stronger and more dominant motive than desire? Because the human brain, designed to respond eleven times more strongly to negative information than to positive information for fear of survival.
The text was taken from www.blic.rs