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Positivity Quest Week 2: Remaking Habitual Minds

Positivity Quest Week 2: Remaking Habitual Minds

Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them. –Confucius

The habits we form in life tend to form us. Our lives and the behaviors that shape them tend to be habitual. Partly because we like consistency and because change is challenging, our habits start to resemble our personalities (or maybe our personalities are really just a bundle of our most dedicated habits). I have read that our of every 11,000 signals we receive from our senses, our brain only consciously processes 40. Although I can’t find the source of this information, it isn’t that hard to believe. Life is overwhelming and our habits create the routine we use to manage life. Sadly, it is also true that bad habits are easier to develop but harder to live with and good habits are harder to develop but easier to live with.

No habits define us more completely than the ones that control our mind. My ongoing experiment to end the negative talk is turning into an epiphany. After just four days, I hardly had to move the bracelet at all today. I am overcome by how quickly the act of applying consistent, conscious attention works on eliminating a behavior that I haven’t publicly committed to stopping. Those are the keys according to some research on the art of cultivating better habits.

First you have to be committed, and being publicly committed is most powerful. But even the act of writing down your commitment can dramatically increase your odds of success. Next, we can only really change one habit at a time- for deep brain resurfacing there is no multitasking. The new behavior or way of thinking must be practiced for 30 days, although I have read 21 days elsewhere. Without question, the longer you consistently practice a new behavior, the more likely it will become a permanent fixture in your life makeup.

Replacing my negative talk with either silence of some positive spin isn’t like giving up cigarettes or some other habitual comfort. It turns out all that negative talking was not really feeling that great anyway. It’s absence over the last few days has felt like getting a vacation from some critic that moved in and has been taking over more and more rooms in my brain. I know some habits are harder to break than negativity because they feed or comfort us in some way. Who knew how easy it would be to let go of the negative narrator.

I am now a big believer in the wrist band method, in fact it has replaced my watch, so now when I am keeping track of something, it is something that really matters. It is an easy trigger that helps me to stay conscious of what I am working on letting go. All this easy clarity with what I say or now don’t say has however brought me closer to the center of the issue, which is how I think. Although I am heartened and inspired by the relatively fast and self- reinforcing changes in my communicating, I can see now that just going after the words that come out of my mouth is not going to do it. I am going to have to step up the wrist band approach. Tomorrow I am going to start to move the band each time I have a negative thought, whether I am the only one who hears it or not.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


+ add your own
4:41AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

Thank you :)

2:13AM PDT on Apr 14, 2013


1:58PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013


3:08PM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

ah if a rubber band will end the negative talk I'll wear double

6:43AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013


2:42AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Thanks Wendy

3:51AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you :)

1:13AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Thanks for the article.

12:11AM PST on Jan 21, 2012


10:35PM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

This is the most important thing we can do. It takes so much vigilance that we won't have time to criticize others.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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