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5 Ways Our Brain Deceives Us To Keep Bad Habits

A bad habit can ruin a life. You probably understand this, and really want to get rid of it, but … you can’t. You want to know why? Our brain knows many tricky ways to keep us the under reign of habits!

1. For brain, “future you” is another person. If you have to go somewhere at 7:00, but you still surfing Internet at 2:00… You realize, that it’s time to go to bed and tomorrow you will suffer from asleep, but on a subconscious level “tomorrow version of you” seems to you a completely different person. The one tomorrow, and will deal with the consequences; and today you can watch some movie.

One scientific study found that when we think about ourselves and about other people very different parts of our gray matter are activated. It is quite clear – the brain assigns different role to beloved yourself and all the rest, because, first of all, you think about your own needs. The strange thing is that in some people, when thinking about them in future those areas, that have been reserved for the “outsiders”, are activated

Well, as you know now, when you choose to go to gym or to eat cake, your brain doesn’t associate tomorrow fatty that could not fasten pants with you and will manipulate your subconscious to once again enjoy the fragrant pastries.

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2. To form a stable “good” habit takes about ten weeks.
Suppose you have one or two bad habits from which you should get rid. You decide to start with to get a few good, because, as you know, the surest way to overcome addiction – to displace it with another addiction. You buy a ticket to a local gym and planning to train three times a week, and win, at last, a passion for pastries. Or beer. Or, with anything else.

What do you think, how much time you have to force yourself until exercise becomes part of your life? And as soon the exercise will be fun?

According to one study, the formation of habits takes about 66 days. During this time, a conscious efforts and forcing become automatic. So if you decide to make treadmill your friend, keep in mind that only two months later it has evolved from the torture to usual session.

During these two months, all sorts of obstacles will constantly stand in your way. You can catch a cold, you have to stay at work… And everything else. The end of a good habit and return to the previous “harmful” joy – because the latter has long been established and integrated into your life.

This is not because your brain wants bad for you – it just loves productivity, and bad habits are always effective. And the results it achieves this: turn your life into a set of repetitive tasks that can be done on autopilot, to develop experience-based set of rules that would allow life to live, spending a minimum of energy. That is all.

So if you want to break the usual course of your life, you have to try very hard. About two months.

3. Willpower – a scarce resource.
If you still firmly decided, for example, to run every morning, and tune in to a long struggle with yourself, we should warn you: the greatest danger on your way to perfection are not all sorts of uncontrollable circumstances, but … lack of motivation. That is, running every morning, and already boasts some success, you will come to point when you decide that you deserve respite.

It turns out that more often and longer people resist their desires, the less power will remain for subsequent resistance to desired. In psychology, this phenomenon is called “exhaustion of willpower.” 

During the experiment, researchers asked one group of students to remember a two-digit number, and the other – seven-digit. Then asked the participants from both groups a choice between cake and fruit salad. Surprisingly, students who memorized the seven-digit number, selected cakes are twice often. That is, in order to significantly reduce the strength of will, just remember some five extra digits.  

Then other scientists conducted an experiment in which approached the same problem from the other side: the volunteers showed two meals – one with a freshly made biscuits, and another – with radishes. Half the participants were instructed to eat cookies, the other half – to take a radish. Then all were asked to solve a complex geometrical puzzle. Those that took radishes, thrown a job after eight minutes, and those who got cookies, struggled with the puzzle during 19 minutes.

Despite the fact that the job did not require any physical effort, giving up delicious cookie robbed members of the forces that could be spent on the job.

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4. The brain uses your progress as an excuse to make yourself a favor.
For one recent study, researchers gathered a group of dieters that have already achieved considerable success. Volunteers were divided into two groups. One was praised for their achievements towards their ideal, the for other nobody say anything special.

As we have said, the brain prefers the old, familiar, and therefore less energy-intensive way of life, even if you run the risk of him not live to forty. chocolate-03
After that, both groups offered a choice between an apple and a chocolate bar as a thank-you gift for participating in the study. 85 percent of those who praised chose the chocolate, in the second group of preferred chocolate only 58 percent of participants. 
Those who was sang the praises, have decided that they have every right once reward themselves for success, while others humbly munching apples.
In other words, the realization of success – the first step to failure.

If the “celebration” was limited to only one bar of chocolate, this would not be a huge disaster. But … ask any man to get out of addiction, and he confirmed that “once” almost always turns into a torrent of small fails, and you do not have time to look around, from your success does not remain a trace. 
As we have said, the brain prefers the old, familiar, and therefore less energy-intensive way of life, even if you run the risk of him not live to forty.
But sometimes…

5. You reconciled with a bad habit to protect yourself from a bigger failure.
There is a special type of people who always whine. On their road to success is always some insuperable barrier. After talking with a man for a long time, you know – he does not seek to achieve something, just all the time inventing itself more and more obstacles – and, apparently deliberately.

This phenomenon psychologists call “masochistic personality disorder“. Scientists explain this behavior as follows: a person unconsciously “agrees” to failure, which can be relatively easy to survive, because he is afraid of the other, some very painful.

For example, a single man more completely refuses to communicate with the girls, and will endure the ridicule than allow some beauty to reject him as a botanist / mattress / pimply nerd.

And then – very easy to see how this grows into another bad habit. For example, office work for you is complicated by the fact that you hate wearing ties or wake up in the morning. In this case, you have a very good motivation to cherish in themselves these weaknesses, because they protect you from the shame to be incompetent and fail in your professional activities. Bad habits are the guardian of your self-esteem. 
And while your conscious “I” hates himself for his weakness, unconscious “I” secretly sabotages any your attempt to deal with them, because it doesn’t care of your self-improvement, self-indulgence – that’s its only goal.

How to deal with our brains? Read our blog! We have many useful pieces of advice!

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