If you ask most people why they can't change a habit
, they'll usually say something like, “I know it's bad for me, but in the moment I just can't help myself.” The reason they can't help it is that there's a pattern wired in the unconscious mind
. Despite their best efforts, the conscious mind is not in charge in that moment of trying to change. The unconscious mind is running the show in the same way that no matter how long you try to hold your breath, eventually you will take a gasp for air.
If you struggle to break bad bad habits, there's nothing wrong with you. It means your unconscious mind
is working the way it was designed to: It creates patterns and automated responses so you don't have to spend precious energy thinking about it every time. (Nature always strives to conserve energy.) The fact that your pattern may not be effective or desirable is just a side effect of the creative power of human consciousness.
Our brains are like computers, and we get to write our own programs.
It’s just that often we don’t realize we’re writing a program that doesn’t really serve us.
Okay, so you’ve got a bad habit because you accidentally wrote a program you don't want. How, when, or why you wrote it is not important here. Let's just focus on how to re-write it.
How the Program (aka Your Habitual Reaction) Works
Most people think it goes like this:
Trigger circumstance → habitual reaction.
As in, “Whenever I have a difficult day at work (trigger
), I can’t help but come home and eat a pint of ice cream (habitual reaction
Here's what really happens:
Trigger circumstance → thoughts about the circumstance → unpleasant feelings → habitual reaction in attempt to avoid feelings.
Thoughts don't have to be verbal, and they don’t have to be conscious. It is said that 90% of our thoughts are unconscious, so trying to know exactly what thoughts we're having is like looking for a needle in a haystack that's buried underground. Fortunately, knowing what the thoughts are is not necessary. Just know that somewhere in the pattern are your thoughts, and they are creating feelings . . . and feelings are energy.
If anxious feelings or other unpleasant emotions are intolerable to you, you will do anything to avoid them. But when you know how to naturally shift these feelings to a better energetic state, you can interrupt your habituated pattern and make space for choosing a better response from a calmer frame of mind.
In most habits we know aren’t good for us but we do anyway, there’s a degree of anxiety and stress operating in the background. Our unconscious mind goes, “Anxiety, bad! Quick, let's do that thing that will distract us from this sensation!”
As soon as you notice that feeling creeping up—the anxiety, stress, or the urge to do the thing—you’re at a choice point. It’s like a juncture in the train tracks where you can flip a switch to move the tracks to connect to a different line. We’re going to reroute the energetic path
that your mind is on so you can easily make a different choice.
The Energetic Pattern Interrupt
Emotions are energy
, and energy needs to move freely. But when we’re in an anxious, upset, or otherwise heavy emotional state, it means our energy is not flowing and properly balanced within our body. According to ancient energy wisdom from East Asian traditions, “Water Up, Fire Down
” is the optimal energy state for a calm, clear mind. The abdomen area should be warm and full of fire, while our heads should be calm and cool. An anxious craving for an unhealthy behavior is a symptom of too much fire energy up in the head. The most effective pattern interrupts will restore Water Up, Fire Down.
Anything that shifts your energy to a more grounded state will work, but the key is to pick something simple that you can stop and do any time you feel the urge toward your bad habit
You can do squats, other lower body exercise, or jogging in place. Free dancing, Dahnjon Tapping
and Brain Wave Vibration
are all very effective for quickly moving energy, and they also have many other benefits that are beyond the scope of this article. These activities will bring energy down out of your head and shift your emotional state, making you naturally less interested in those urges.
Repeat to Rewire
Do this enough times, and you can completely rewire your habit. Don't let the simplicity of this approach fool you. This is a powerful method that's more than just stopping your habit in the moment. Each time you do it, you're changing the neural pathways
in your brain. Unused pathways die off, and then new ones are built. Don't be surprised if it happens quicker than you think. Your brain is incredibly adaptable.
One last thought . . .
In addition to not doing that bad habit, here’s the other wonderful thing that happens when you change your pattern: You can hear your inner wisdom speaking. It’s like the original source program that was always running in the background, and now that you’ve stopped overriding it with that other stuff, you can see its brilliant design and catch its messages. Your true self is already there inside you, with all the love, truth and guidance you need to have a happy, healthy life.
The Change Your Energy Premium Membership offers access to weekly live classes plus hundreds of courses and webinars that can help you get out of your head and into your body, shift your energy, and anchor in new positive patterns. Learn about it here.