habit busting

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Habit Busting a plan to change your life


Downloaded from www.lifebooks4all.blogspot.comThis book is dedicated to thelovely,gorgeous Vanessa Corley. Pete Cohen(2001) I wouldespecially like to thank (inorder of appearance): Robert Anton Wilsonfor your inspirational curiosity andthe book Prometheus Rising. Michelle Cornell for your advi ce andencouragement. Michael Breenfor your wise councilandpatient,yet hilarious tuition. Laura Nolan andMach, without youthisbook wouldnever have hap-pened. Dr Richard Bandler the genius who createdNeuro Linguistic Programming, the thinking that enables freedom. PaulMcKenna the most charming PR man the human brainever had. Shelly Loughney for your strong words softly spoken. Pete Cohen,the wisest clown in t oy town. Special thanks to Jennai Cox, without whom this book wouldbe very different, andmay never have made it into print. Thank youall.Sten Cummins (2001) Downloaded from www.lifebooks4all.blogspot.comContents Step I Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 St ep 7 Step 8 Step9 Step10 Foreword -Dr Hilary Jonesvii Introductionviii What Are Habits?I Using Your Imagination31 Why We Want to Change: Pleasure vs Pain59 Motivation69 Beliefs80 TheNew You96 Making Mistakes103 SayingGoodbye to OldHabitsI 08 Getting Stronger125 TakingCare of Yourself - The Habit of a Lifetime138 Conclusion162 References164 ResourcesI 65 About the author166 About the publisher167 Front cover image Copyright Foreword PeteCohen'sabilitytohelppeopletranscendtheirunwanted habits, fears andphobias isamazing.Last yearI worked withPete on an innovative week-longseries for GMTV calledHouse of Fear. The aimof the series was to help four people who allhaddebilitat-ingfearsandphobias.Thesepeople'sphysical,mentalandemo-tionalresponseswere testedandprovedbeyonddoubt that their fears andphobias were socially handicapping themandstopping themfromliving normallives. I had my doubts that these people couldreally change insuch ashort period of time.Peteworkedwith themfor three daysand whenIsawthemagainonthefourthday,theresultswere astounding.I watched as once again these people were exposed totheirdeepestfears.However,thistimetheirreactionshad changed from panic and terror to complete control.These people were curedof their unwanted behaviour, andwere experiencinga new senseof conf idence,control and a determinedconvicti on to enjoy their lives more. IwouldrecommendPet eCohenandtheprocessesinthi s booktoanyonewhowi shestobreakorbustanyunwanted habitsorbehavi our.Withhi smethods,soverymuchispos-sibl e. Freedomfrom anxiety or terror is within their grasp,here in thepages of thebook. Dr Hilary Jones,M.B.B. S. GP and media doct or Introduction MynameisPete CohenandIhavebeenhelpingpeoplebust theirhabits for over 10 years. I have always foundhuman behaviour fascinating , and through my expl orationsandexperiences ofworkingwiththousandsof peopleI havebecome convincedthat the majority ofpeople can overcome theirlimitinghabits.Habits arequitesimply things we havelearned,whetheritbe smoking, low self-esteem,nail-biting or fearofflying.They arethoughts, behaviours andactions that we have practised over time. TheHabit-bustingtechniquesandstrategiesinthisbook will help youtounlearnyourbadhabitsandreplace themwithmore productive and enjoyabl ewaysoflivingyourlife.You willlearn how t o makesimplebut highly effective changes,andultimately you willgain more control andbecome freer andhappi er. What You WillNeed for ThisBook Winning starts withInthecourseofreadingthisbookwewant youtobecomean begi=;;_ ) c ~investigat or rather than a criti c . Todo this allyou willneedarean inqui sitiveandopenmind, anotebook andapen.Please give yourself timetochange: youhaveworkedhardatcreatingthese habits andneed the time you deserve to bringabout change. In the work that we do, we start out by reminding each person of four absolute truths: Every human being has positive worth. That worth is non-negotiable. Your worth is always there.andit's always going to be there.inspite of the behaviours andhabits youmay have pickedup during yourlife,andhowever appropriate orinappropriate they may be.Nothing that happensinlife can change that. 2Other people's reactions to what you do andsay are just that -other people's reactions.Theirreactions. comments and attitudes are theirs.not yours. The only person who can define youis you.Youarenotresponsible for how other people feel about you. 3Whenyoumake a decision, youinvariably make the best decision youcan at that time,with the options you believe youhave. There isa positive intention motivating allyour behaviour.However the behaviour might seemwith the benefit ofhindsight, allbehaviour is positive inintent. 4Every personhas within themall of the strengths and resourcesnecessary to change into the person they want tobe. Ustof Habits ThlsBook Can Help You Break Smoking Overweight Gambling Worrying too much Procrastinating Negative thinking Feeli ngguilty Drinking Nail-biting Beingstressed Roadrage Problems with people Drugs dependency Eatingdisorders Inability to relax Beingpessimi stic Low self-conf idence Feelinglike aloser Downloaded from www.lifebooks4all.blogspot.comHABITBUSTING2 andhelp tomake arealityof theperson wethinkwewould like tobe. APositive Intention Throughour work withpeoplewhowishtobreakhabits,we havecometobelievethatbehindallbehaviour isapositive intention.Thebrainonlyever suggests abehaviour it thinks isthebest andmosteffectivewayofmakingusfeelbetter, andit haslearnedwhatmakesusfeelbetter ormorecom-fortablefrom our behaviour in the past. Because we are fast learners,habits develop andbecome fixedveryquickly.Takesmoking,forexample.Wewatch peoplesmokingandbecauseit lookscoolwethinkitis an appropriate anduseful way tobehave.Weare driven todo it, even thoughitishardandithurts.Howmanypeopleenjoy theirfirstcigarette? Yettheygo through thepainof smoking inorder tobelikeotherpeople.Theassociationof smoking with cool is learned andbecomeshard-wiredin our brains so that smoking equals cool. Peopledonothavehabitsfor thesakeofit.Theirbrain suggests tothem whatitthinksisbestorwhatinthepast might havealleviatedsome di scomfortor seemedattracti ve. Sowhenever wefeel discomfort , the brainki cksintorelieve usbysuggestingwhatbypastrepetiti on ithas been taught makes us feel better, even when weknow itnolonger works. Inthe1940s,behaviouralpsychologistBFSkinnerbuilttwo mazes,one for rats andanother for agroupofgraduates. As an 3 incentive tofindthecentreheplacedinthemiddle of thefirst some chocolate andinthe secondsome $1 0bills.The rats and graduatesranaroundthemazesuntiltheyfoundthereward. Whenthe chocolate was removedfromthe first maze, the rats no longer showedanyinterestinfindingthe centreof the maze.The graduates,however, would stillrunthroughthe maze insearchof the middle,even whenthey knewthere was nolonger any money there.Thehabit,onceestablished,continuedevenwhenthe reason for doing it had been removed. Pete writes:WhenI was youngwe hadapet dog,andof course I gotusedtohavingit around.Iwouldseeitallthetimeandit would come whenever Icalledout its name.Eventhoughthe dog diedalmostadecadeago,wheneverIvisitmyparentsIstill expect him to be there,runningtogreetme. Thisdemonstrates conditionedbehaviour;the patternis similar to the wayinwhich many habitsdevelop andare sustained.Eventhoughwe try to breakthem,thebrainkeepsonsuggestingthem.Becausewe have spentsomuchtime doing them, the brain persists inurging us that familiar behaviours are still best. What about other behaviours?Well , whensomepeopleare inaroomfullof strangersfeelinguncomfortabl e,for exam-ple,theirbrainmaysuggestsmokingbecausethatiswhat hashabitually made them feel more atease. Although some of thosewhoare fatwant to lose weight , theirbrainstillsug-gests foodwhen theyfeeluncomfort able,becauseeating hasformany yearsalwaysmade themfeel better.Others mayfindbitingtheirnailsbringscomfortwhentheyfeel uncomfortabl eor findthemselvesinan awkwardsituati on. Becausethebehaviourhasworkedbefore toall eviatedi s-comfortineachof thesehypotheticalsituati ons,thebrain HABITBUSTING4 haslearnedtoseeitasa solutionandsuggestsit whenever anyfeelingsof discomfortarise.Thebehaviourbecomes a habit. At thetimewebegintocultivate ahabit,wearemerely obeying thebrain's tendency tomakeusbehaveinaway thatitbelievesisbest forus.Thinkabout this:if eatinga sweet takes your attentionawayfromthepainof fallingover oftenenoughwhenyouare young,thebraincanbecome conditionedtosuggest eatingsomethingsweetwhenever we experience discomfort. Wego onpractisingwhicheverhabit it iswehavelearned to thepointwherewearesogoodatit thatwedon't really have tothink about it anymore.Soskilleddowebecomeat puttingthings off,biting our nails or feelingstressedor guilty that wefailtorealizethesebehavioursnolonger serveeven a perceivedusefulpurpose.Weget tothestagewherewe aremerelygoingthroughthemotionsofabehaviourout ofnomorethanhabit.Someofusstillenjoyourhabits, although not always thefeelingwe'releft with afterwards. Duringthe Second World War,anumber of Japanesegarrisons were sent tooccupyandguardlittl eislands inthePacific.They were instruct edto shoot at invaders or enemies of Japan. Withno radio contact, they refused to accept, evenlong after the fact, that the war was over.Every day they continued to don their uniforms, cleantheirweaponsandwait for'enemy'ships topass,andthey would shoot at them. Anumber of these garrisons were still being found wellinto the1970s - discoveredbecausethey wereshoot-ing atfi shing boats. Inst ead of rushing into instruct the soldi ers to stop fighting,a formersergeant inthe Japanese army, wearing his old uniform, was sent to the island.He thanked the menand, after People's minds are like parachutes-they only function when they are open. HVCJtiot The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality, to something more positive ... and begin to act 5 speaking to them atlength,informed themthat the warwasover. Theirconditionedbehaviourcouldnow be