We are all creatures of habit and if you make good habits, good habits will make you. This wisdom has been around since ancient times. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
The subconscious mind—the habitual mind—is over one million times more powerful than the conscious mind. This means that we spend a substantial amount of our lifetime on “autopilot,” playing out the mental programs that govern our behavior.
For example, while driving a car and carrying on a conversation with someone, the conscious mind is attending to what is being said in the moment while the subconscious mind is turning on the turn signal, hitting the brakes, attending to oncoming traffic, monitoring our blood sugar, regulating our breathing, planning our next move and on and on. The subconscious mind is so vast and so powerful that we do not even know what it is thinking or capable of. It truly runs our lives—whether we know it or not!
Habits begin and manifest deep in the mind and they can be friends or foes. Good habits can make our lives easier, helping us to do the more mundane things of life without thinking about them, like automatically depositing your paycheck.
But, as all of us know all too well, habits can also be destructive…to our health, to our finances, to our relationships. It’s why we struggle with losing weight, paying off our credit cards or quitting smoking…to name a few “bad habits.”
Whether they are a positive force in our lives or obstacles to the goals we want to achieve, habits become ingrained through repeated actions.
Here is a little test to display the power of our habits. Cross your arms as you normally would, and look down to see which one is on top. About half of you will have your right arm on top and the other half will have their left on top. When you crossed your arms for the very first time, you might have been still in your playpen, and you have been crossing your arms the same way ever since. Now, cross your arms again, but this time put the opposite arm on top. It feels extremely weird! If you were to challenge yourself to cross your arms the “wrong” way for the rest of your life, could you do it? Probably. Would it be difficult? You bet it would!
The real key to success is replacing destructive habits with successful habits.
To win—to break self-defeating attitudes and behaviors—we must understand that we have the power to choose and the power to change. We have the power to let go of old thinking and adopt the mindset of a champion.