What Are Habits
Habits as a whole, are predetermined patterns of behavior that we use to automate our daily lives. Accordingly, there are 4 types of habits that we deal with on a constant basis.
These are not good / bad habits, but more of a categorical description of these habits and what we gain or lose from them. The four types of habits are:
The end goal in any wellness plan is to move as many habits as possible into the active category so that we can experience life, in the now.
With avoidance habits we are looking to break the cycle of addiction that we have found ourselves in.
With these types of habits, we often need to seek outside help for these issues, be they treatment, 12-step programs or counseling through secular or non-secular means.
This type of habit is designed to break the cycle of what we have been doing, so it becomes completely regimented and restrictive. Mindfulness techniques, as well as other techniques for breaking bad habits come into play here.
Examples of avoiding habits are as follows:
Regimental habits are those habits that we do on a daily basis that we believe we cannot do any other way. If we always shower when we get home, we may miss a moment where the cat climbs the curtain and ends up looking very cute at the end.
These types of habits have a predetermined outcome, often with an expectation associated with it. If you always buy the same sandwich from the same store in the morning, then one day that sandwich is not there, then you become irritated.
This is not what being mindful is about. In order to prevent this, we need to change up the way that we do things so that we can be ever present in our affairs. If you always take the same route to work, try a different route, you may see a store that you never knew existed.
Unconscious habits are things that we cannot see in ourselves, but others can see in us. We may not think that we are lazy, yet, our family members tell us all the time that we are lazy.
These are the habits that our judgements and biases are based off of. Some of these habits, like driving to slow, “I am in no hurry to get anywhere” or based more on trying to control an environment that we have no control over.
Other habits, like being a pessimist, or being judgmental are also based in this category. There is an old adage that says, “When I point my finger at someone, I have four pointing back at me.
We can overcome these habits, only after they have been recognized and accepted. And we can start to view them as they are and change the nature of what they are.
Active habits are process that we have established to guide us through our life. The end goal of these habits is to just be. They are often associated with feelings of contentment and fulfillment.
They are positive by nature and are habits that we have that do not have a set end goal, i.e. lose 20 pounds. These habits are rewarding enough. They are designed to keep us in the moment and in the present.
As they are not goal oriented, they are always successful. Some examples would be, taking the dog for a walk, reading, going to the gym, restoring that car. These types of habits are all about being in the moment.