To replace bad habits, you will need to change negative health behaviors. Otherwise, they will lead to bad patterns to develop in our psyche, which can lead you to the same harmful experience over and over again.
Nightly bad behavior patterns can change, but first, there has to be an intent to replace bad habits.
Before we begin the five-step behavior appreciation pattern, you need to understand how patterns in our behavior occur.
Most times, the environment we experience around us creates an annoying habit. A pattern is created, which is enters into short-term memory. The more the behavior is performed, the more it starts to become a natural part of us. This memory will log itself into our long-term memory.
E.g., when a child is learning to count, let’s say the teacher is teaching them from 1 to 10. This gets repeated multiple times during children’s learning. Eventually, children come to recognize the pattern. We know this by when the teacher says one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, to which most children will automatically respond with 10.
By recognizing patterns, we know what to expect as well as how it will arrive. To break this down into simple words is, a pattern develops by repetition.
To undo this pattern, you will need to create a part space where the action underlying the emotion is appreciated.
For the behavior appreciation pattern to work effectively, you will need to follow each step thoroughly. This pattern uses anchors to find positive intentions. You will be able to improve your performance and self-care by developing an ongoing positive approach to change while growing in your personal development.
The outcome of this pattern would be rather than reacting to negative behavior with disregard of needing to vent to let it go. You will instead maybe decide to accept your need to release an emotional burden. This will help you discover ways to live without unnecessary stress.
How to Replace Bad Habits With Behavior Appreciation
Step #1 Identify the Behavior
What you want to do here is identify the negative behavior which you are trying to change. This behavior may be a feeling, thought, pattern, or physical action.
Step #2 Anchor the CONTEXT SPACE
Include the context in which or how you carry out this negative behavior as it occurs. This means you should know beforehand what is going to happen before the negative response takes place.
E.g., you know if someone yells at you, it makes you cry. Think about what happens before the thought of crying takes place.
To figure out your context space, you will need to know the following technique.
You need to determine where in your body does this negative experience belong. You can do this by imagining that this is the location that you can step into. Look around; you notice this is the location of where the behavior has taken place from beginning to end. Recall it as vividly as you can.
You can let your inner critic guide you, as it usually has nothing good to say anyways, this will allow you to follow your thoughts.
What you need to do now is anchor this behavior, including its context, to this spot. You can anchor it by imagining yourself tying the action into that spot.
We will call this the context space.
Step #3 Access Your Underlying Positive Emotion Sending PART
First of all, you need to know that most negative or bad behaviors usually have a positive underlying purpose.
Now think back to the behavior that you want to change. Imagine that it comes from a part of your body that is trying to create positive underlying motivation for you.
Just by changing this frame, you can liberate your well-meant motivation.
What you will need to do now is get into the mind of the part (with the positive underlying purpose), which is responsible for unwanted emotion. By bringing in this insight, it will make the pattern that much more successful for you.
Step #4 Giving Your Part It’s Space
What you will need to do here is use your imagination to create a separate space for your part, which is trying to develop a positive purpose for you. It will need to be completely different from where the unwanted emotion originates.
You will now call this the part space.
Okay, so now that you have made the part space, you are now ready to make a change for the positive for yourself as well as replace bad habits.
Imagine stepping out of the context space, but taking the part with you while leaving behind the context and unwanted behavior behind.
As you step out of the context space, you may have a dissociated part. This will help to have easier access to its underlying motive.
What you want to do now is find out why this part has the motives it has. When you ask questions of this part, speak to it as if you are talking in the first person. This will assist you in receiving an associated experience of why the part acts the way it does.
To dis-identify from the negative behavior, you will need to point to the previous context space (anchor) as though it was an actual physical location.
You will need to pose the question in the past tense; this will help you emotionally distance yourself from the unwanted way of acting; it will seem like something which took place in the past. It also indicates to you that you have already put into place for better habits.
The question you can ask is:
“What do I want to get out of what I had been doing (put in unwanted action here)?”
Once you know the answer, you can then begin to finish off the pattern with questions that will open up more awareness for you.
The questions you can ask to replace bad habits but are not limited to would be:
- “What are my feelings when the desired outcome does or does not take place?”
- “When the desired outcome is achieved, what should I do with it?”
- “How should I react when the undesirable parts of the outcome are initiated?”
Take note of the types of reactions you may feel in your body.
- You might blame others you feel are responsible for this action
- Justifying as to why it’s a deserved behavior
- Maybe even ignoring it
- Taking advantage of others to escape the aftermath
- Eating to soothe yourself
- Creating a harmful distraction to getaway
Continue asking yourself questions until you feel you have the answers which will benefit you, including your part.
Now we are going to step out a little to do some future pacing. What you need to do here is imagine yourself in the future (about one year or so) looking back upon the situation. You may realize now you are fully able to enjoy the positive outcomes.
Step # 5 Test to Notice All Changes
Although no one likes a test, it’s important when making changes with self to test for behavior change.
You can do this, noticing how you now react to situations versus how you use to respond. Take note of the more resourceful options you currently have.
Adverse health behaviors can debilitate a person from living their life to its full potential. But by following the behavior appreciation pattern above, you can make gradual changes which will make your way of living much more satisfying as well as relieve any associated anxiety. This will have you sleeping without having to give in to bad habits.
If you need more clarity on how to replace bad habits, please let me know in the comments below.