Using the power of dopamine to break bad habits

We all have our vices. But, perhaps you’re sick of yours. Maybe it’s getting a little out of hand or beginning to affect your relationships, health and/or productivity. Regardless of the reason, there comes a point in our lives where we wish to be rid of certain habits or repetitive behaviors. According to neuroscience, the more you act out a behavior, whatever it may be, the more your nervous system will hardwire it, making it more difficult to break. There is so much advice & information you can find on this topic online & in books. Most psychologists will mention triggers, environment & things along these lines. However, I believe I have a simpler & more effective approach.

Stop focusing on breaking the habit. Instead of focusing your energy on the habit/behavior you want to break & beating yourself up when you fail to break it, focus on forming a new one. Ask yourself this: “Why do I want to break this habit? What do I really want for myself?”. Basically, which direction do you want to take your life?

For example, let’s say you want to stop drinking soda or consuming an abundance of sugar. Let’s say you would like to drop this habit because you want to be healthier. If attempting to drop this habit proves too challenging, don’t beat yourself up. You need a positive attitude. Positivity is the cure. So, form a new, beneficial habit. For example, start running. Make it a point to run a mile every morning for 30 days. If you stick with this it will become a habit. You won’t even have to think about it. What does this have to do with quitting soda?

Dopamine. It has been shown psychologically, that we respond better to positive reinforcement vs. negative punishment. So, instead of attempting to break a hardwired behavior, failing & hating on yourself, build a beneficial habit. You will begin to build self confidence, because you’re doing what you said you were going to do. This will build positivity by promoting the release of dopamine which is paired to a sense of accomplishment from completing a task you set out to. With more dopamine coursing through your brain, you will have more energy, willpower & motivation. This is absolutely crucial, because when it comes to building or breaking a habit, motivation is the driving factor.

You will find that your sense of control over yourself will drastically increase. In this scenario of the mile & soda, you will begin to feel healthier & that soda will become increasingly less appealing. This will spill over to many aspects in your life. Like I said, more dopamine, more willpower & more of that sense of control over yourself. That’s what it comes down to, people. We all yearn for that sense of control in our lives. We all want to do the things we say we’re going to do & we all want more self confidence. Self-confidence comes from doing what you say you’re going to do.

With an abundance of positivity, willpower & motivation, no bad habit stands a chance.

Much love.

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