When it comes to being the best person you can be…
Just so you know?
Your brain is a real bastard…
In that it does it darndest to prevent it:
[via Cracked]5 Ways Your Brain Tricks You into Sticking With Bad Habits ~By Dennis Hong
Bad habits can ruin your life. Whether you’re gorging on Haagen-Dazs or dressing up like a Power Ranger and flaying hobos every night, you know on some level that things have to change, or disaster will follow. But no matter how badly you want your life to be different, things just keep plowing on the way they are. Why?
Because your brain has a long list of diabolical mechanisms intended to keep your habits exactly as they are.
#5. Your Brain Thinks Your Future Self Is a Different Person
You knew you had to be up at 7 a.m. for a big exam. But there you were, at one in the morning, watching every minute of a double feature on cable including Timecop and a second showing of Timecop. On a conscious level, you knew you were screwing yourself. But on a subconscious level, you always think of the tomorrow version of you as a completely different person. That guy can deal with the consequences; the night version is watching some f****** Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Well, don’t feel so bad. Science says that this feature is built into your brain.
Brain scans have shown that different parts of our brain light up when we’re thinking of ourselves versus when we’re thinking of other people. That part makes sense — your brain is partitioned out into separate regions for yourself and for everyone else because you have to look out for yourself first. But where it gets weird is that in some people, when they’re asked to think about their future selves, the region that lights up is the one reserved for other people.
In other words, if someone asks you to think about what you’ll look like in 20 years, your brain treats it as though you’re trying to picture some bizarre stranger. Now think about what that means in terms of your ability to fix what’s wrong in your life. What motivation do you have to abstain from your 14th peanut butter doughnut today just to help out some droopy manimal in the future? Logically, you understand that you’re endangering the person you’ll become, but subconsciously, your brain doesn’t have the sympathy to spare for that poor slob, and just wants to enjoy the doughnut.
#3. Your Willpower Is a Finite Resource
Of course, what is probably more likely to trip you up during your 10 weeks of learning to be the type of person who jogs every morning isn’t some uncontrollable circumstance, but your own lack of motivation. Specifically, this shows up as the sense that, because you’ve been so good with the jogging, you owe it to yourself to take a break.
Once again, scientists can get this same result in the lab — exercising your willpower in one instance simply makes it more difficult to exercise it in the next. There’s even a term for it now: willpower depletion. It is every bit as depressing as it sounds.
For instance, in one study, scientists asked one group of students to memorize a two-digit number, and another group a seven-digit number. They then offered both groups a choice between cake and fruit salad. Amazingly, the students who memorized the longer number were twice as likely to choose the cake. It’s as though the simple act of remembering five extra digits was enough to reduce their willpower to a trembling white flag.
Then you have this study, which tried it from the opposite direction: Volunteers were shown a plate of freshly baked cookies and a plate of radishes. Half of them were instructed to take a cookie, and the other half were instructed to take a radish. All were then asked to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Bizarrely, those who had been told to take a radish gave up on the puzzle after only eight minutes, while those who were told to take a cookie stuck with it for a full 19 minutes.
Even though no physical effort was involved, simply being forced to resist cookies actually depleted the volunteers’ will to solve a puzzle, because apparently we never really stop being toddlers.
…[Read More – See All Five Ways HERE!]
On the flip-side?
Oh, my friends…
There are ways to work around your often very contrary brain.
The trick is?
Knowing how it WORKS:
[via BrainPickings]How Long It Takes to Form a New Habit ~by Maria Popova
“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle proclaimed. “Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state,” William James wrote. But how, exactly, do we rewire our habits once they have congealed into daily routines? We already know that it takes more than “willpower.”
When he became interested in how long it takes for us to form or change a habit, psychologist Jeremy Dean found himself bombarded with the same magic answer from popular psychology websites and advice columns: 21 days. And yet, strangely — or perhaps predictably, for the internet — this one-size-fits-all number was being applied to everything from starting a running regimen to keeping a diary, but wasn’t backed by any concrete data. In Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick (public library) — which also gave us this fascinating read on the psychology of self-control — Dean, whose training is in research, explores the actual science of habits through the existing empirical evidence on habit-formation. He cites one influential study that gives a more concrete answer to the elusive question of how long it takes for a new habit to take root:
In a study carried out at University College London, 96 participants were asked to choose an everyday behavior that they wanted to turn into a habit. They all chose something they didn’t already do that could be repeated every day; many were health-related: people chose things like “eating a piece of fruit with lunch” and “running for 15 minutes after dinner.” Each of the 84 days of the study, they logged into a website and reported whether or not they’d carried out the behavior, as well as how automatic the behavior had felt.
This notion of acting without thinking — known in science as “automaticity” — turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, to be a central driver of habits. And it helps illuminate the real question at the heart of this inquiry: How long did it actually take for people to form a habit? Dean writes:
The simple answer is that, on average, across the participants who provided enough data, it took 66 days until a habit was formed. As you might imagine, there was considerable variation in how long habits took to form depending on what people tried to do. People who resolved to drink a glass of water after breakfast were up to maximum automaticity after about 20 days, while those trying to eat a piece of fruit with lunch took at least twice as long to turn it into a habit. The exercise habit proved most tricky with “50 sit-ups after morning coffee,” still not a habit after 84 days for one participant. “Walking for 10 minutes after breakfast,” though, was turned into a habit after 50 days for another participant.
The best way to defeat ANY enemy?
Know it well.
“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Even IF the enemy…
The same sage advice