The Renaissance Man

Are Habits BS?

30 posts in this topic

By habits I mean the one intended in the self-development/productivity community. Eating healthy, exercising, doing time and task management, etc.

The idea of habits is that if you do the thing for enough time, it will eventually become automatic and you'll require no more discipline to engage in it.
 

Has this principle ever worked for you in real life?
Please tell me your experience, I'm really conflicted.
Has that behavior really become something that requires no discipline? Has it become automatic as they say?

 

--------------------------

My experience

In my experience, which is fairly extensive, this has NEVER worked. This is super strange. Too strange to have NEVER worked considering how much time I gave to develop certain habits.

Don't get me wrong, my behavior has changed and improved a lot, but what I'm suggesting is that it didn't happen through habits, instead it happened by becoming deeply conscious enough of the reason why the new behavior was healthy.

There were behaviors that I was able to change without effort, and quite quickly.

There were behaviors that even after hundreds of days of trying, never became habits. (this would defy the theory of habits)

There were behaviors that I couldn't change for months and months, but then a single piece of knowledge and understanding made the shift effortless.

 

--------------------------

Backing up my theory

Then, why are habits so glorified?

I believe the concept was simply extrapolated by the actual ability of the mind to make some tasks automatic, for example muscle memory. But it then was poorly translated in stuff like "going to the gym" which is too broad and full of variable to be truly automated.

If you were able to go to the gym, so to adopt a new habit, what I suggest is that the change was one stemming from consciousness of the effects, which came organically, and not from the repetition of going every day.

 

"But Leo (lol), I did actually force myself to go to the gym and then it became a habit"

Are you sure? Maybe the repetition worked not because the task became automatic, but because through such repetition you were able to shed more awareness & attention over the chain of benefits of the gym. And that's when the behavior changed.

 

I'll give you a tricky question:

If you now are going to the gym consistently, and you either feel like it requires discipline but you're still going, or maybe it's a habit so you're not an enthusiast, but it's automatic, so you're indifferent...

Why don't you try not going to the gym for two months?

Oh, you can't?
Of course you can't, the reason you were able to go in the first place was because you're conscious of the benefits. Discipline is a camouflage.

You don't want to not  go to the gym! You don't want to eat unhealthy!

You could do it before because you were not conscious of the benefits, but once you go regularly, even if it looks like discipline, you are actually unable to skip a month of workouts, because you're too conscious of the consequence, while before you weren't.

----------------

So... are habits BS? Please only answer based on your direct experience, not with theories you've heard from Huberman and James Clear or whoever.

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Posted (edited)

All that you are is an accumulation of habits, a momentum to your persona and mind, inside consciousness

To change yourself or your habits and if that is even worth it or how to do it properly; is another discourse

I would change the wording from habits to lifestyle, what is the lifestyle that makes your life meaningful?

Edited by Davino

God-Realize, this is First Business. Know that unless you live properly, this is not possible.

There is this body, you should know the requirements of your body. This is first duty. We have obligations towards others, loved ones, family, society, etc. Without material wealth we cannot do these things, for that a professional duty.

There is Mind; mind is tricky. Its higher nature should be nurtured, then Mind becomes mature and Conscious. When all Duties are continuously fulfilled, then life becomes steady. In this steady life God is available; via 5-MeO-DMT, ...                       Lovingly discipline Life & Realize Absolute Infinity

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A life without ha it's is a pirates life indeed.

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Your ability to type this message via a keyboard was because of repetition without any real meaning or intention to achieve anything. 


One Love....

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Well, I guess everybody transcended procrastination in this forum. Good for you. But your answers weren't pertinent to my question.

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52 minutes ago, Princess Arabia said:

Your ability to type this message via a keyboard was because of repetition without any real meaning or intention to achieve anything. 

ops.meme_.nba_-1024x768.jpg


Intrinsic joy is revealed in the marriage of meaning and being.

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3 minutes ago, Carl-Richard said:

ops.meme_.nba_-1024x768.jpg

Lol, looks like my brother and cousins.


One Love....

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Posted (edited)

I agree that "healthy habits" (things people generally perceive as hard or requiring discipline) generally need to be perceived as meaningful or rewarding for them to be taken up. But once they're taken up, it's hard to put them down.

Edited by Carl-Richard

Intrinsic joy is revealed in the marriage of meaning and being.

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8 hours ago, The Renaissance Man said:

If you were able to go to the gym, so to adopt a new habit, what I suggest is that the change was one stemming from consciousness of the effects, which came organically, and not from the repetition of going every day.

This is what I was responding to. You're only able to type because of repetition of typing and not from some conscious effect which came organically. 


One Love....

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Yes, of course.


The devil is in the details.

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I think for me, the key to lasting habits is setting realistic goals and finding ways to work with yourself rather than against yourself.

For example, I know it's popular to wake up at 5am or earlier in some productivity circles. For me, that didn't really work because I can't naturally fall asleep until 11/11:30 at night which meant that I was usually working with 6 or less hours of sleep. As a result, the habit of waking up at 5 that was supposed to make me more productive had the opposite result for me. As a result, I made a new goal to wake up at a time that made sense to me, like around 7 on week days and 8-9:30 on week ends because that is what is most sustainable for me and in that schedule, I do end up getting enough sleep, thus making me productive. I would say that despite waking up at 7 on most days, I'm still just as productive as someone who wakes up at 5 when you look at everything I've done by the end of the day. And yes, this is a habit that I had to create because if I gave myself no structure, I could easily stay up til 2 in the morning and wake up at 10am which I could get away with in college but this wouldn't be helpful now since I have a job and other responsibilities. 

Then there is working out. For me, working out 7 days a week is not sustainable because my body needs time to recover and I also have a changing schedule day to day. Instead, I aim to get 3-5 days of working out in where the days I choose is not set in stone but is flexible. If I don't achieve this, I still try to incorporate in some kind of movement throughout the day so that I don't feel sluggish from being too sedentary on a day to day basis.


I have faith in the person I am becoming xD

https://www.theupwardspiral.blog/

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4 minutes ago, Carl-Richard said:

I agree that "healthy habits" (things people generally perceive as hard or requiring discipline) generally need to be perceived as meaningful or rewarding for them to be taken up. But once they're taken up, it's hard to put them down.

What's required for bad habits to form?


One Love....

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Yes, of course.

9 minutes ago, Princess Arabia said:

What's required for bad habits to form?

Be as significant, but in another context.
For example, chronic stress can push someone to develop habits to “dilute” attention, burying their heads in the sand.

There are also bugs, like exposure to modern technology when we are adapted to an environment with much less stimulation.


The devil is in the details.

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Posted (edited)

You actually did whats needed to change bad habit to good habit you cant change habit if you dont see it as the thing its not benefiting you anymore(sometimes even with forcing yourself).For me it worked precisely for exercising forcing myself until it became a habit but better way is seeing how it hurts you so you stop doing it.

Edited by NoSelfSelf

There is nothing safe with playing it safe.

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14 hours ago, Princess Arabia said:

This is what I was responding to. You're only able to type because of repetition of typing and not from some conscious effect which came organically. 

So you're playing the non-dualist street preacher game and the implication is that "a conscious effect" is related to the ego and the ego is an illusion, right? Well, repetition of typing is also an illusion. So get played on your own game.

You can always derail any discussion about reality into a non-duality preacher fest. But you don't have to do that. And it's also completely besides the point in this discussion. This is not the spirituality sub-forum.


Intrinsic joy is revealed in the marriage of meaning and being.

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Posted (edited)

Habits are like the automatic driver on a Tesla. Saying it doesn't work is weird. You just don't know how to program it.

All your bodily functions work on habits like your heart, your stomach and other crucial functions. Thank god it works great if it does.

Your mind has the same automatic behaviour. Most conditioned and some are baked in.

As for habits, long existing habits are difficult to change, while short existing habits are difficult to change. The younger you are the easier it is to change. Your success to change habits is also depended on how flexble your mind is. If you think you can't change it will be so.

Edited by StarStruck

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Posted (edited)

I believe a strong conviction is important for an activity to meaningfully become a habit. You have to intensely believe that something is important enough to do everyday. Otherwise, why do it?

The thing with working out and eating healthy is that they are slightly antithetical to human nature. The body wants to conserve energy and eat the tastiest food. We have to be disciplined to be healthy whereas in the past it wasn't necessary. Our current environment is toxic in that sense.

Edited by Basman

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@StarStruck I talked about specific habits, like being productive, going to the gym, eating healthy. I literally said that habits exist, but this self-development variation may be BS.

It's obvious that the brain can learn stuff and make it unconscious. I mentioned muscle memory in my post as well...

And also I clearly asked to ground your answers in direct experience, referring to specific habits, not just the body doing stuff automatically. I'm also capable of parroting James Clear & co, but the whole point of this post was to question that entire massive branch.

@Carl-Richard Thank you.

@Basman How did this work in your direct experience? Were you able to change habits of this kind? If you did, was it because of sheer repetition (as the whole self-help industry says), or because of something else, like I'm suggesting?

@soos_mite_ah Yes, flexibility is always the solution. All those "protocols", typically stage orange, fail to see the flexibility requirement of a successful integration. Anyway, notice how the "habits" you adopted weren't out of dumb, sheer repetition and force, but out of a simple understanding of the place of such practices in your life. Or at least, that's my whole hypothesis: I believe if you just don't see the point in doing something, there's no amount of repetition that will make you indifferent to doing that thing. And this would mean the whole habit thing is... BS. As a method of integrating new practices, not the fact that changing behavior is BS, to be clear.

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Posted (edited)

Habits are linked to self image. Humans act congruent to their self image and I noticed this works for me too. For example in the beginning I didn't identify as a boxer but with time it grew on me. Now I see it as my weekly habit and I just do it without any discipline/willpower because I identify as a boxer and I do what a boxer does.

Using discipline, what ever that means for you, is just a fart in the air without building proper self image. Life is a reflection of your self image. And your habits are just a way to actualize your self image into reality.

Creating a new self image is a deep topic though but what I can say about it; imagination is key. When I was a smoker for 2 years, I used willpower to stop and it never worked. Only when I started imagining myself as a non smoker and identifying as a non smoker, real change happened.

 

Edited by StarStruck

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2 hours ago, The Renaissance Man said:

 

@Basman How did this work in your direct experience? Were you able to change habits of this kind? If you did, was it because of sheer repetition (as the whole self-help industry says), or because of something else, like I'm suggesting?

In my experience, repetition alone isn't sufficient to form a habit if it is something that is hard to do. It'll become a habit if there is a pressure present that necessitates it. For example most who have a habit of waking up early do so because of work or school. You need a good reason to do hard things in my experience.

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