I have often wondered whether we are aware of the degree to which our habits play a regular role in our everyday lives.
It has long been said that all behaviour is learned and, this being the case, by the time we reach a certain age we have adopted many of the habits which will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
While we don’t consider most of our behaviours to be habitual, it is helpful to understand that whenever we display any emotion, e.g. anger, we have to do certain things in our heads and in our bodies in order to produce the emotion we call anger. This means we have, over the years, learned how to conduct this behaviour by doing it repeatedly, thus forming a habit.
As humans, we have long been labelled creatures of habit which simply means we have taught ourselves how to repeatedly behave in certain ways and, quite often, we have adopted triggers which will immediately cause us to behave in certain ways thereby delivering on one of our habits.
As is the custom with this blog, every fourth week we introduce a new habit and today I would like to discuss The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.
Delusion is the process we use to rationalize thoughts and behaviours we know are not in our best interests but, at the time, will satisfy a need or desire that is present within us.
By way of example please allow me to replay the conversation I had several weeks ago with a married couple who have long been struggling to get their weight under control and who are both at a stage where they are placing their health at risk, and yet seem unable to make any long-lasting changes in their lifestyles.
For as long as I have known “Carl” and “Carol” bringing their weight under control and down to manageable levels has been a part of every conversation we have had.
Over the years they have signed up with all the well-known weight-loss brands, have joined several different gyms and have never managed to successfully stay with any program or regimen long enough to realize benefits and results.
As I listen to their discussions I have come to realize that as much as they love each other, they are each other’s worst enemies and regularly sabotage each other’s efforts to assume ownership and control of their weight and their health.
They have both become extremely proficient at convincing one another of the “okayness” of straying off course in order to justify deviating from the plan by “just having a tiny sliver of …” or prefacing the introduction of a behaviour that will move them away from their goal with a statement along the lines of, “If we both promised to be really good tomorrow then we can… today.”
Self-sabotaging behaviours are common among all who have not made a commitment to The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.
I know a number of people who, just like Carl and Carol, have been trying for years to get their weight under control. These folks fail to learn the importance of The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself and consequently play at their goal of weight loss through their habit of self-delusion.
There are many tried-and-true pathways for achieving and sustaining weight loss and none of these promote self justification as a valid reason for for deviating from the process.
The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself means you learn how to become bigger and stronger than those emotions inside you that mischievously lead you to repeatedly sabotage your own efforts and thus expose you to the risk of reaching the point where even the thought of attempting, yet again, to lose that weight takes on a feeling of pointlessness.
Discipline means doing what you know you should be doing when you don’t feel like doing it or not doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing when you feel like doing it.
If we want results in our lives, we have to be serious about doing what it takes to produce those results and we need to develop the discipline and mental toughness that pushes aside those delusions that may give us short-term pleasure and quick fixes of enjoyment but will, without question, over the long-term cause us nothing but angst.
The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself will keep us on the path to where we want to go and, while along the way, temptation will undoubtedly present itself, this habit, if faithfully followed, will enable us to stop paying any attention to that temptation and to stay focused on the big prize that awaits us at the end of the trail.
And if we stay on that path, we should only have to take this journey once which certainly beats starting out, faltering, and going back to the beginning, over and over again.
And that has to be the best possible result.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.