Habit-Breaking Habits

It is important to recognize what habits you are forming. Habits shape your thought processes and actions in subtle ways without directed behavior. Sometimes your habits align with what you would want to do given serious consideration; sometimes they do not.

There are habits which tend to form when you are commonly part of a group. These can arise from adapting to social pressures and trying to fit in. These should also be questioned, but for now, let’s focus on what habits you form as a single player, when you are on your own.

As a single player, no one else is around to observe what you are doing. No one else will provide feedback or criticize your actions. You also cannot look at how your actions/thoughts compare to others. It’s when you are alone that only you can look at and criticize yourself. In situations like this I think it is important to deliberately ask yourself “Why do I believe what I believe?”, or “Why do I do what I do?”, and actually trying to answer. If you find a thought pattern or habitual behavior which does not seem related nor consistent with other things you want yourself to be believing/doing, then maybe that’s a sign of a habit you should work on changing. In a sense, this inner-criticism can become a habit-breaking habit, one you cognitively accept and use to shape what you believe and do.

In order to better understand and criticize my thoughts, I find it useful to visualize my thought process with some form of tangible structure. One visualization I use is considering concepts as building blocks, with some blocks at the foundation and some layered on top of one or more of the foundation blocks. If a block does not seem to be built on top of another block, then it must have some very good reason that it can stand on its own. If not, then that’s usually a sign that I need to reconsider where that block should be, or if it should be discarded. Whatever the visualization, I tend to see concepts as related to each other, some forming in the presence of combinations of others.

I have identified this general thought process as one of my habit-breaking habits, one that I cognitively accept and use to shape what I believe and do.

What other habit-breaking habits do you use and recommend?

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