TRANSFORMING YOUR HABITS TO TRANSFORM YOUR HEALTH PART 19
Another important aspect of willpower is recognizing that whatever cravings you experience, they are just neurological pathways based on prior conditioning and habits. You want to depersonalize them. You no longer want to feel bad about yourself because you struggle with them. The neural networks that trigger these behaviors were established long ago and probably in a non-conscious way.
You should stop feeling bad about yourself for this. You should accept it for what it is, that you have these neural networks that are associated with powerful emotions and feelings. But you also have a strong desire to create new networks that will create new behaviors, and you will be able to do this by focusing your energy in the direction of what you truly want for yourself. You will no longer react to the cravings in an emotional way. You’ll begin to reduce the power of the old neural networks that aren’t supporting your good health and increase the power to the new neural networks that you are building that will automate the behaviors that support your best health.
Four Step Mindfulness Process
I’ve written a paper that describes a four-step process based on a model developed at UCLA of how to use mindfulness to create new brain pathways to support your behavior. I recommend you read that article, as it explains it very clearly, and outlines the four steps. It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to provide all of the details because it’s a fairly lengthy article. But if you’re interested in this topic, it will teach you how to implement the process. I promise you, if you apply it regularly, you will establish a new habit pattern, and the old one will slowly disappear.
So we want to acknowledge that we experience craving and that when it occurs it’s powerful. We also need to recognize that it’s based on prior conditioning patterns and we just want to observe it. We don’t want to try and fight it or suppress it; trying not to think about it will not work. Instead, we want to see craving for what it is and move into a new behavioral pattern. Essentially, we want the old pattern to trigger a new behavioral routine.
We will use a pattern of substitution to achieve this. That’s what I discuss in the paper I recommend you read, and what we’ll cover in the next blog in this series. We have a wealth of information on willpower and the other key habits to your authentic health.