Best Practices for Integrating New Habits

When I was in college (just last year….heh yeah right) I crossed paths with a concept I call, “Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer”. The phrase alone turned me on. I mean, what? We can reprogram our brains as easily as a computer geek can reprogram a computer? How cool is that?

For years since then (what? i just graduated, remember?) I was intrigued by anything related to helping myself and others generate what we want from the complex system of our brains, rather than being run by genetics, social brainwashing, or peer pressure. I wanted to know how to master my body-mind system, rather than be hijacked and run by it.

So here’s a small gift for you. This list is a collection of techniques I picked up along the path, tried-and-true processes for personal selective repatterning (see how good i learned to speek in school):

Techniques For Quick and Easy Habit Replacement

1. Healthier, Better, Kinder – Whatever habit you want to replace, find an alternative habit that is healthier. For example, when I was 17 and wanted to stop biting my nails, each time I was tempted to bite my nails I instead taught myself to massage my cuticles. This would improve blood flow and help my nails grow longer, stronger, faster. It also gave me something kinder to my body than destroying my nails with my teeth. A client wanting to lose weight didn’t want to give up her choice and freedom in what foods to eat, so we experimented with her taking a walk each time she wanted to munch between meals. Not only did she cultivate her health through the exercise, it also improved her metabolism (increased calorie burning through increased activity) and cut her between-meal munching by more than half.

2. The 21-day Game – Whether you’re trying to integrate a new habit or a trying to replace an old habit, practice for 21-days. I forget the source of where I found this, but if you consistently repeat something for 21 days, I understand it helps generate synaptic connections in the brain; you are physically re-hardwiring your system. Remember habits start out as nothing but electrical impulses in the brain, so if you allow a pattern to atrophy for 21 days, or if you create a new pathway for the impulse to fire (massaging cuticles was a new pathway) for 21 days, or if you repeat your new habit for 21 days, you’re literally rewiring your bio-machine in the direction of your choice.

3. Blue on Blue, Woohoo – For quick and easy memorization (especially useful for mantra / affirmation / declaration cards or new learnings), try writing your statement on a blue index card in blue ink. Again I have to find the original reference for this, but I recall reading that when we look at items in blue, the brain actually has an easier time imprinting it / memorizing it. If you find this reference would you email me please? gail@integratedcoaches.com

4. Key Moments of Suggestibility – When you want to induce a message for yourself that will sink in quickly and easily, do your practices when your subconscious is most suggestible. When is that? When you’re very sleepy, very hungry, or in a post-orgasmic state, your subconscious tends to be less guarded, more open and receptive. So if you are practicing a new declaration, review it in the morning when you wake and are still groggy, or last thing before you go to bed and you’re dead tired, or (well you get the idea). My favorite story about this: a 20-something client who as a child was a victim of repeat rape wanted to reclaim her love of the male body, but nothing she tried worked. I recommended she try a 21-day practice of, during a post-orgasmic state, imagining herself with a nude, loving man, and relishing his form, delighting in it. After only 7 days, the client reported a radical, apparently miraculous change: she no longer was repulsed at the idea of a nude man with her. We’ve stayed in touch, and even years later she reports highly successful relationships with men, including sexually, and she beams at the thought of the male body. If a trauma-victim can have this level of recovery in a mere 7-days, what could you experience?

5. Loving Kindness for the Ex – No, I’m not talking about your love relationship with another, I’m talking about your love relationship for you and the habit you’re attempting to replace. “What we resist, persists,” and what we banish about ourselves (or others!) only becomes repressed and returns in darker, stronger form. Remember that the habit you had was at some level an attempt to gift yourself or others. My nail-biting was an outlet for a very nervous, unsettled 17-year old girl. All of us are doing the best we can with what we have, all the time. By holding yourself (and your ex-habits) gently, you gently give yourself room to evolve, and you increase the likelihood of maintaining whatever gifts your old habit was trying to give you.

If you’d like support on using this habit-replacement or new-habit technology, feel free to call me for a complementary hour-long consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship. You can even start slowly – you can start with something as small as 4-sessions a cycle! To reach me toll-free, call 1.877.535.5438, or you can email me.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to return to my college graduation party planning. (Ok, the 2-year anniversary of my graduation? No? Ok the 10 year? *sigh*)

Cheers to quick and effortless habit evolution!

Sending love,
Gail

public domain images courtesy of stockxpert
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