The Power of Habit

Why do we do what we do?  We have a lifetime of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that are running our daily life. They are powerful unconscious habits controlling us.  It’s the feelings we have about those stories that dictate our life.

Let’s follow a story habit.  Imagine walking into your home and smelling a vanilla candle burning. In this story, that smell has the ability to trigger a memory in your brain that automatically in just a nanosecond causes you to blurt out “I  hate the smell of vanilla.”

You don’t necessarily recall the reason as it may be buried in your subconscious. The smell is a triggered response in your memory bank.  You act on it.  If you were able to reach into your memory you might recall it nauseates you because your grandmother that you disliked immensely burned a vanilla candle in every room of her home.   Habits don’t bother to bring the whole story to the front of your mind every time.  They work mindlessly without you.  They control your life at least 90% of the time without your permission.

The smell of vanilla is not the problem, it’s the habit of attaching the smell to an unsavory experience way back in your childhood and the feeling response to it.  Or this example;  you go to the carwash and they accidentally spray the interior with a vanilla scent.  You are triggered unconsciously from past experience, maybe you even get mad and demand a refund.  Your habit is so ingrained to hate the smell of vanilla you just react without any conscious thought.

My clients bring problems they want to solve.  They tell me a story about it. In the beginning, they think the problem is a fact they are helpless to change.  It isn’t.  Facts are neutral, neither right or wrong, good or bad.  The problem is always the meaning they gave to the facts. What they choose to think about it.

The fact in this story; a vanilla candle burned in grandma’s home every day.  Facts are provable, not an opinion.  Everyone would agree with this fact.  The problem is not the candle,  the problem is the meaning given to the thoughts surrounding the smell of the vanilla candle.  What if this person asked mom why did grandma burn that candle?  What if it was the grandfathers dying wish that grandma remembers him fondly by simply burning that vanilla candle every day?  Could this person change their perspective and let go of the negative attachment to the candle.  What if this person loved their grandfather and chooses now to change the meaning of the smell of a vanilla candle?  No longer attaching it to their feelings about grandma.

The power of our habits controls everything.  All habits are formed from our thoughts and feelings.  We can attempt to force new actions or inactions for a different result, but at the end of the day, whatever the problem, if we don’t change how we are choosing to think and feel about it, we will default every time to the power of our old habits.

What problem do you have that you want to solve?  Debt, relationship issues, lonely, overweight, stressful job, sleepless nights, health?  What habits are holding you back from finding a solution?

Do you blame your past circumstances, education, your boss, disease, other people, or traumatic childhood?  Whatever it is, I promise you cannot ignore your old habits and expect to get off the merry go round of your problems.

Learning the skill of intentional thinking is the simplest path to finding a solution to your problem.

Your Midlife & Beyond Certified Life Coach

Show Up * Think Different * Kick Ass * Be All In


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