This week I had the pleasure, yes pleasure, to sit through a six hour lecture presented by Bill M. Kelley, Ph.D., from Dartmouth College. I’ll spare you his titles, but the lecture was about the brain and habits. How habits are formed, and why changing bad habits into good habits is hard for most people and near impossible for some people. It really does require more than willpower, and knowing what is happening inside your gray matter can help ease the process.
Dr. Kelley showed that the brain is really good at short-cutting information to speed up your process to get something done. We were given the simple task to see a word and tell what color the word was printed in. The first word was “red” and it was printed in red. Oh, so easy! All 300 of us proclaimed “red.” Then we had the word “blue” in blue. We see the word and tell the color: “blue.” Then with green we are forming a habit of seeing the word and telling its color. After a couple of reds, blues and greens Dr. Kelley flashes a slide that is the word “green” printed in the color blue. One third of the room proclaimed “green” the other two thirds were choking back the word and searching for the correct answer of “blue.” That pause and need to stop and think about what I’m seeing and what information I’m supposed to be giving was a quick way to show that there is hesitation when something changes and upsets your habit. The shortcut your brain set up for you didn’t work on every solution, and you paused to figure out your conflict and eventually come up with the solution. When you want to change that habit, there is a pause.
This pause is where you consciously have to stop and choose your action for the new outcome you are wanting.
Your Mind-Body is Smart and Efficient
Your mind-body sets up a habit and speeds up the processing like driving a race car on a super highway. The more you do the same action, the more efficient you get at doing it. You think you are driving that race car, but there is a chemical called dopamine who you gave the car keys to. Dopamine is driving you to “do it again” and you are just along for the ride. Sometimes you are blindfolded and gagged to represent your feeling of helplessness when you make choices and give into your bad or self-destructive habits.
Your Mind-Body is Super-Duper Efficient
Not only does your mind-body set up your habits on familiar super highways, but your mind-body also keeps track of all the details leading up to your action, and sets them up as habits on super highways in your mind-body too!
Key to Changing Out a Bad Habit for a Good Habit Requires Conscious Effort– Pause, Expend New Effort
Establishing a life-long good habit requires getting your body to agree it is a habit and to build for you a super highway bigger and better than the super highway you have up in your gray matter for your bad habit. Really that’s all there is to it! Being aware of what you are doing here is one of the keys to building a successful good habit super highway in your brain and body system.
Make Your Choice More Attractive for Getting Your Greatest Reward: Love
In EPTworks, making the good habit super highway bigger and better so the mind-body will choose it is based on attaching the positive emotional charge of true love to the new good habit. The Biblical truth that love is the greatest single power source we have access to is mankind’s greatest reward. When my new good habit is rewarded with the best emotions and aspects of true love, then I will be drawn to choose that habit more often than my self-destructive habit.
EPTworks Therapy Makes the Bad Habit Super Highway Less Attractive Using: Forgiveness
Forgiving myself for believing what isn’t true about this bad habit makes it less attractive to me.
In letting go of a bad habit, there are usually reasons why we want to keep doing it. EPTworks seeks out the long held beliefs that are giving value to your bad habit and making you want to “do it again”. Using specific forgiveness for beliefs that aren’t true will neutralize the beliefs and allow the mind to resolve each conflict attached to the bad habit. Using this therapy makes the bad habit super highway look even less attractive and easier to switch over to the new good habit super highway we are building bigger and better.
By guest blogger: Sherry Hamilton