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habits

Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits

“Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. You get what you repeat” – James Clear, Atomic Habits

Establishing and maintaining good habits is probably one of the best skills to us to develop.

Relying soley on motivation is setting ourselves up for failure.

Establishing and maintaining good habits allows us to repeat desired behaviours even when we don’t feel like it. Thus, increasing our chances of long term success where we want it.

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RAIN Method to Break Unwanted Habits and Cravings

R.A.I.N Method

The following is a basic outline of the R.A.I.N method to Break Unwanted Habits and Cravings.

It was developed by neuroscientist Dr Judson Brewer who is director of research at the Centre for Mindfulness and associate professor in psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University.

This technique really brings into play his long experiences with mindfulness.

First of all, just think about the habit you want to stop. Spend a few minutes really thinking about that habit and what it does for you, what you get from it. 

What does it feel like in your body, what are the rewards? Dr Jud says it’s imperative to understand why we do the habit.

R.A.I.N is a simple acronym that makes the technique easier to remember, and simpler to apply.

R.A.I.N

  • Recognise
  • Accept
  • Investigate
  • Note

Four Step Process for cravings and unwanted habits

Now anytime we feel a craving or unwanted behaviour, we should apply the following fours steps.

  1. Recognise: First of all, we just need to recognise when we are doing the habit. Otherwise, we are just on autopilot.
  2. Accept: Rather than pushing away the craving or habit we just accept it.
  3. Investigate: Now, we investigate those feelings and notice where we feel them. This should be playfully curious and light without judgment or criticism. Is there a feeling in the stomach? What does the mind do?  What are the feelings involved? We want to be really curious and look deeper at the craving & behaviours, and their effects on our bodies.
  4. Note. Finally, just note down those feelings and experiences for a minute or so.

Dr Jud recommends using this technique for cravings, or unwanted thought patterns. Repetition is key.

Every time we repeat the process the cravings will get weaker and we will gain more control.

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The Wailing Dog and the 5 Minute Rule

There is a story about a wailing dog.

One day, a man was walking past a house with an old couple sitting out front on their porch and a dog lying just in front of them.

The man noticed that the dog was constantly wailing and whimpering in a lowish tone.

For several days the man walked past the house, and every day noticed the same thing. The couple were sitting out front and the dog was lying on the porch in front of them whimpering and wailing.

Curiosity eventually got the better of the man, and so he decided to go an ask the couple what was wrong with their dog.

They replied, “oh he is just lying on a sharp nail”.  Perplexed, the man asked why the dog simply didn’t move off the nail. “That’s because it hurts enough to groan about it, but not enough to move”.

This story illustrates how many people experience problems in their life. They moan and complain about them, but do very little of nothing at all to actually fix the issue.

In fact, some people, actually get a kind of pleasure from their complaints, it’s almost like a source of comfort, or something to talk about.
 
I’m sure we can all think of people we know who are like this. They aren’t really looking for a solution or change, they just want to enjoy a little bit of complaining.

A little complaining here and there is perfectly normal, but it’s important that those little complaints don’t grow and expand over time and become part of our identity

The 5 Minute Rule

The 5 minute rule is a useful strategy where all complaints, moaning or negativity are limited to 5 minutes – not a second more!

Then simply STOP, and move on to some other conversation or activity – preferably neutral or positivist.

This can be challenging at first, but many people doing this consistently over time find they feel more calm, centred, and peaceful.