It is hard for us to believe that most of our behaviors have more to do with the way we are wired than with free choice. We generally live with a sense that we know what we are doing and why we are doing it. For most people, this is a false belief, stemming from our own illusions.
Here is a way you can expose this fallacy: Think about the different things that you think will make you happy. You may want to:
- find a partner that will be “the one”
- make money doing what you love
- manage your money better
- lose weight
- become more organized
- be more peaceful
Each of us has the potential to achieve any and all of our goals, but most people don’t. What’s blocking us from choosing to act in ways that will benefit our well being?
The answer lies in the early habits which were ingrained in us before we had any say in the matter. These habits are now second nature to us and breaking them requires awareness, strategy and conviction.
Here are the major steps to success:
- Identify the behavior you want to change
- See what it costs you in terms of health, self esteem, happiness
- Choose to want to change it
- Come up with a plan
- Commit to the plan and create support systems to help you succeed
- Give yourself a break if you fall off the plan
- Recommit and get back on the plan
- Recommit and get back on the plan without making yourself wrong
- Recommit and don’t give up no matter how many times you fall off
You cannot have free will if you don’t understand what you are up against. You cannot have free will if you don’t have awareness that you are operating out of habits. You cannot have free will if you don’t know what your options are.
Parents can avoid some of this heartache for their children by helping them to develop healthy habits like time management, organization skills, money management and making healthy food choices.
On the emotional level, parents need to create situations that will challenge their children to develop better impulse control, learn how to delay gratification and, most importantly, teach them self awareness.