How To Break Bad Habits
Your Family|April 2019
How To Break Bad Habits

Train your brain to drop the harmful behaviours and learn the good ones, one small change at a time

Nolwazi Dhlamini

Whether your goal is to make healthier eating choices, start investing, or get your small pottery business off the ground, your daily habits have the power to help you reach them and transform your life. In his new book Atomic Habits (Penguin Random House), habits expert and author James Clear shows how small actions like waking up just five minutes earlier, doing 10 jumping jacks a day, or drinking two more glasses of water, make a huge impact in the long run.

IF THEY’RE SO BAD, WHY ARE WE SO LOYAL TO THEM?

Joburg-based life coach Simone Naidoo says habits are created at the level of the subconscious mind. ‘According to neuroscience, habits are created in the subconscious mind, which rules 80-90% of our behaviour.’ Your brain basically wires your behaviours, emotions, and thoughts into circuits deep below the surface, where they become automated, which is why you can perform your habits without thinking. ‘So basically, anything you’ve practised your entire life, or that has been part of your daily experiences, allows for the likelihood you’ll adopt it into your own life,’ explains Simone. For example, if you grew up witnessing your parents arguing all the time, ‘picking fights’ with your partner may become ‘second nature’ to you later on in life. It’s all to do with repetition and learning; the more you do something, the easier it becomes an automatic response to specific situations.

WHY DO YOU KEEP BACKSLIDING?

You set a new goal to stop spending excessively. But a few days later you receive a notification about a 40% sale at your favourite online store, and before you know it you’ve added seven items (that you don’t need) to your shopping basket. You need to identify your triggers, or the reasons you’re giving up so easily.

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April 2019