Crunch time comes, its the moment you told yourself you would go to the gym instead of Netflix and chill, and you feel insane push back. Everything in your body is screaming at you to take the option that you always have, to go the bad habit route.
It can almost feel like you will explode if you don’t. Your brain is giving you a million reasons as to why going to the gym is definitely not a good idea today. But tomorrow, would be better.
That right there, is when the real change happens.
Creating a bad habit is hella easy, but trying to reverse a bad habit is damn near impossible!
We used to believe that our brains were unable to change after a certain age. Now, scientists have confirmed a thing called neuroplasticity, which basically means the brain can and does change over time and with exposure to different things.
Even though that is really good news, it doesn’t make changing the brain any easier.
It is extremely hard to fight cravings. You can feel tension all over your body.
I’ve found the easiest way to change a habit, is to think of it like a spider web.
You may be wondering what spiders and habits have in common and Ill get to it in a second.
When you are experiencing a craving, your brain is trying to travel the path it has wired as the easy path.
Our brains are very smart. Way smarter than we give them credit for. They are constantly storing, filtering and processing data we are unaware of. It will only hold memories it deems significant, and will get rid of the rest.
It also does this with our habits. Things we do consistently, like brushing our teeth. It has become such a traveled habit path in our brain that it would be almost impossible to go the day without brushing your teeth. Its second nature.
Or have you ever driven somewhere and later realized you don’t remember actually driving there? That is your brain on autopilot. It knows how to drive and do the processes so often that it can do them automatically.
This can work really well for us, or really bad for us. If we are consistently choosing good habits, it would be really hard for us not to do the right thing. This also applies to bad habits. The brain doesn’t know bad or good, it just knows consistent paths.
Now, back to the spider web.
Imagine that your bad habit has a very strong spider web attached to it. Every time you have done that action, you have added one thread of strong web to it.
Every time you repeat the action, the habit (web) gets stronger and stronger.
The more you choose the unhealthy habit, the stronger that web gets and the more the brain wants to repeat that action. The other healthy habit might have a couple of strings attached to it, but its less stable and wobbly.
Over time you stop doing the other habit completely, and it has no attachment to you.
Now, imagine, after some time, you realize how badly you want to break this habit, but every time you try, you cant seem to stop doing it.
That’s because you have now built a very strong path(web) to the one habit. Your body has streamlined it as though its a natural process so it has time to work on other choices and day to day things. It has built it into your subconscious.
This is were the pain comes in.
This is where your body pushes back and screams at you to follow the easy route. The one with the strong web.
To get to the other side of this, you need to build the web back over to the healthy habit.
The first day you will want to go back to your old habit so bad. If you sweat, struggle, and persist through and choose the healthy habit, then you have just added one strong spider thread to that habit.
The new habit will still be weak and the other habit will still have a strong web attached to it. That’s why changing habits is hard and does take time. If you continuously struggle but choose to spin a web over to the healthier habit over and over again, that web will eventually become the stronger one. The web with the bad habits will break up until there is barely anything emotional attachment to it.
You will then have a strong web (path) attached to the healthy habit.
It will be much easier and natural for you to consistently choose the healthy habit.
Your body will work in much the same way as before when you had the bad habit, by wanting to follow the easy, already made path in the brain.
But this time, the easy, already made path in the brain is a better habit.
Do the hard work, struggle through and get to the other side. Its worth it to feel a bit of pain for a lifetime of success.
Bad habits are easy to build, and hard to live with. Good habits are hard to build and easy to live with.