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Home » Featured, Headline, Motivation, Problem Solving

Breaking Habits

Submitted by on October 20, 2010 – 8:58 pmNo Comment

Ways to Use ‘Exceptions’

There is always an exception or situation that does not accommodate certain behaviors.  And when these situations arise, what do we do?  We (hopefully) respect what is appropriate for the situation behavior-wise and adjust in a way which is appropriate.  In reality we momentarily take control of our thoughts and feelings–because we can.

Emotional problems demand our attention. They make us focus on them. But to overcome them we ultimately need to direct our attention to not having the problem.  You are probably thinking at this point, “No kidding!”

You have the capacity to not have the problem (as stated above).  Let me say that again, you have the capacity to not have the problem.

And it’s that capacity we need to identify, nurture and develop so the problem can be assigned to the past as soon as possible.  Stay with me here.

It’s important to look at the ‘exceptions’ to a problem behavior.   When I say exceptions, I mean the times you are not experiencing the behavior/ thoughts you don’t want.  For example, times you don’t smoke (or whatever the problem behavior is). The information you provide starts to form the basis of your escape route away from problematic feelings and actions, and replacing them with the exceptions you already know so well. The information involves the times you are not experiencing the behavior/ thoughts you don’t want.

For example, a man may not feel the need (the exceptions to the unwanted behavior) to smoke:

  • on long flights
  • when others are not smoking
  • when in comfortable company
  • when around children
  • when visiting a sick friend in a hospital
  • when swimming every other day in his local pool

So although he thought of himself as a ‘compulsive smoker’, we now have six exception times when the behavior isn’t compulsive at all.

If the man might think of swimming every other day and  “getting that swimming pool feeling” during the times he would normally feel triggered to smoke (for example, just before work, with a coffee, after a stressful day and so on), he would become more and more aware of exceptions or options to his smoking behavior.

In realizing this, an individual can see that they have more control than they may have previously thought.  Anytime we exercise ‘choice’ we exercise our power of choice.  The more we exercise an alternative option, the more we solidify a pattern to maintain a given behavior – a new healthier habit.  The key is to know options exist and we can do something about it.  The most important thing regarding this approach to breaking unwanted habits is, KNOW that it is possible for you.  If you think it would be a miracle for you to change something about yourself, I suggest you start believing in miracles.  After all that’s what life is, isn’t it?

Coming in November…How Self-Hypnosis helps the technique of using exceptions

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