EPISODE 98: “ENCORE Episode: Why Your Bad Habits Are So Hard To Break”
In today’s episode, you’ll learn why it has been so hard to break your bad habits. The reason why is that people try to use willpower to break bad habits and willpower is a conscious process and habits come from the reptilian brain. When you got up this morning you didn’t say “ok I’m going to get out of bed then go to the bathroom then shower”…. it happened automatically without conscious analytical thought. All of us go through life on autopilot and if you have what you do not want, you’ve created that on autopilot.
If you want to create new things in life, you’ve got to create new habits.
In this episode I talk about:
You are not your habits. You are not your urges. You are not your habit voice telling you to go into your habits. (That’s your reptilian brain talking) You are you and your brain runs your habits. You cannot change your habits by fighting them. You must communicate with the reptilian brain and it becomes easy for you to break your habits.
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You're listening to episode number 98 of the transform your life from the inside out podcast. Now this is an encore replay. And it's one of the first episodes that I did. And the title of this episode is why your bad habits are so hard to break. And I kind of giggled there because it's something that pretty much every everyone deals with, including you. So let me let me just say this. If you've tried to change a bet a bad habit before and failed, you're going to want to listen to this episode, again. And again. Enjoy. Hi, I'm Jim Fortin and you're about to start transforming your life from the inside out with this podcast. I'm widely considered the leader in subconscious transformation and I've coached super achievers all around the world for over 25 years. Here you're going to find no rah-rah motivation and no hype. Because this podcast is a combination of brain science, transformational psychology and ancient wisdom all rolled into one to take your life to levels you have never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life- to feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive and to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life. Then this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your Consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
Recondition Yourself to Create New Opportunities
All right. What I want you to get right off the bat is that everything that you do or do not do is a habit. At the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig Germany, big word there. I'm tripping over, at the Max Planck Institute Leipzig Germany, one of the foremost research institutes in the world. I believe they have 43 Nobel prize winning scientist contributing research there. They did a study, some research back in 2008. I'm not going to go into it here. But what they discovered is that up to 95% of every decision that you make is already determined by the brain, even while you think you're consciously thinking through a decision your brain has already made that decision for you, which means up to 95% of what you do on a daily basis and I will demonstrate this in a bit plain and simple is habit. So the foundational place we're going to start in this podcast and you hear people talking about habits all the time, you know, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and the 7 Habits of Millionaires and all that. We're going to go deeper in this podcast because I want to look at the mechanisms of habit. Because let's say for example that a book can say that, you know millionaires they have a habit of reading every single morning for 15 minutes. Well, if you have a more foundational habit of not being committed to doing things, then there's no way you're going to be able to do that 15-minute habit. Because you're not even in the habit of having a different habit about commitment to follow through on reading 15 minutes a day.
So Foundation and here's where we start. Everything that you have and don't have in your life is a Habit and Way of Being. So the next step is that everything is also about Training and Reconditioning Yourself. When you train and you recondition your habits, you will create completely new outcomes in your life. So I do want to segue here for a second. I had mentioned breaking your bad habits. What I want you to understand is that when it comes to The Reptilian part of the brain, which is the part of the brain that manages your habits. When it comes to The Reptilian part of the brain, there are no such things as bad habits. For example, you could say well smoking a cigarette is a bad habit. That is analytical prefrontal cortex thinking. It's the executive part of the brain saying No, you should not smoke because that is bad for you. However, the Reptilian part of the brain does not distinguish between "good habits" and "bad habits". Those are simply thoughts attributed to the Habit. Your brain just does what it does because habits are habits without any external value. Your brain, reptilian part of the brain creates habits, and there are neither good habits or bad habits, simply habits. Now, let me show you for us and we'll get more into this in just a bit. But let me show you how you operate on autopilot all day long. Which is habit and you're not even aware that you're doing it. Let's look at your morning ritual. Think back to this morning when you got up. I want you to look at the sequence of behaviour that you did this morning. Did you get out of bed? Did you go make coffee? Did you go to the kitchen? Did you go to the bathroom first? Did you check your messages? What did you do this morning? And then what order did you do it? Notice that.
Now, I also want you to notice that what you did this morning in the order that you did it in, most likely... I'm a betting person. So I'm going to say 99% chance you did yesterday morning, and the morning before, and the morning before, and the week before, and the month before, and the year before. So your morning sequence demonstrates that for the most part every single one of you you get in the habit and you work through habit not even knowing that you're doing it. So, you know when you got up this morning you did not say Well, okay, I'm going to get out of bed. But what am I going to do first? Am I going to make coffee? Am I going to actually go to the bathroom? Am I going to start making some hot tea? Do I shower first or brush my teeth first? What do I do in what order? No, it happened automatically with no conscious analytical thought. And that's what I want you to recognize about your life. Your entire life because research demonstrates as I said earlier 95% of what you do is unconscious brain based habit. Most of us go through our life on autopilot. Well not most, all of us go through our life on autopilot and habit. And let me show you another example here of how this plays out. I want you to think about the last time you pulled up to a stop light. So you're driving along and you see the light and the light goes from literally from green to yellow. What do you do? Do you sit there and do you think whoa, okay. What happened here? Wow this whoa, what do I do? What does it mean? It just went from green to yellow. Do I? Do I stop? Do I hit the brakes, do I run through the light? Do I go fast? What do I do?
No. What every one of you did with no analytical thought is that you stopped. Or you went bastard and run through it, but you stopped at the stop light. Notice also that you were probably engaged in other activity. You're either listening to the radio, looking out the window, talking to the kids in the backseat, you're texting, which by the way is very unsafe. Or you're doing something. But notice when you stopped at that stoplight, there was no analytical conscious thought involved. You did it automatically, unconsciously, autopilot, brain-based. Well, that's how you live your life and every bit of your life. If you have what you you know you want, you've created that on automatic autopilot. If you have what you do not want, you have also created that on automatic, brain-based autopilot. So it stands to reason and it's obvious. If you want to create new things in life, you don't get what you want. You actually get your Habits. So you've heard me say some variation of this before in earlier episodes. But where you are right now, right now with your money, your health, your food, your relationships, your business, wherever. Where you are right now is a reflection of your brain based unconscious habits. You know, let me give you an example here of how these work in the background like an app on your you know on your cell phone. You got apps running in the background. But no one ever says Hmmm, what apps do I have running today? Well the same thing with your habits are running in the background, but we never talk about them or think about them.
And let me show you again how effortlessly they happen. When I moved to the current house that I live in the last house that I lived in. I lived there for four years. And back then I used to drink cold water, I had it in the refrigerator. When I moved here. I switched to room temperature filtered water. Here's the thing. In the last house anytime that I wanted water and I drank a gallon a day. I would go to the refrigerator and get water. Well, when I moved here, even though different house, different layout everything. For about literally the first month anytime that I wanted water, I would go to the refrigerator and I'd be like Oh, okay. That's right. I'm not drinking cold water anymore. Our habits are so ingrained that we don't even know that we're getting into our habits. And that's why your life is exactly what it is because of your ingrained habits that you don't even know that you're getting into. You know one of the cultural misnomers and one of the things that misleads a lot of people is that the motivational speakers, and the rah-rah people, and all these people will say things like You know what, you've got to believe. You got to create a burning desire and when you believe it, you will achieve it. And all this other nonsense. I mean to some degree. Okay. Yeah, that could be true. And that's a whole different podcast episode. But overall what we get into as human beings as we get in the self deception, which I've alluded to before. Oh, yes my left brain, my analytical brain believes I can achieve that. When in your unconscious paradigms, in your habits, that is not true. So what I want you to understand at this point is that you will not, for the most part, you will not get your goals. You will not. What you will get is your unconscious habits.
Many times also you will not get your beliefs. You will get your unconscious habits, and that is why it is so vital. I mean monumentally vital that you understand, which we started with, that 95% of what you do on a daily basis is habits. Everything is conditioning. Your entire life is a habit. And if you want to create new things it comes down to plain and simple you must focus on not what you believe because many of us get in the self-deception. What you must focus on is creating the habits that create the outcome that you want. All right, we did this a little bit in the last episode but I'm going to do it again. And as you continue to listen to this podcast, you're going to become very familiar with this brain model. Is that there are three parts of the brain three predominant parts of the brain. The newest part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which is the executive thinking part of the brain. It's the part of your brain listening to me right now. I'm going oh, okay. Yep. Yep. Yep. I get it that makes sense. Then there's the middle brain, the mammalian brain, the limbic system, the emotional part of the brain. And then there is the reptilian part of the brain which again is fight or flight or survival. This part of the brain is the part of the brain that houses your habits. It's not the prefrontal cortex. The thinking part of the brain. It is the survival, the reptilian part of the brain that houses and executes every single habit that you have.
Now, this podcast is partly about why it's so hard to break your bad habits. And I don't know anyone for the most part because most people are never taught this. I don't know anyone for the most part that says, you know, what? Oh, yeah. It's easy to break a habit. I've had for a long time. As a matter of fact, most people have a story that it's really hard to break your bad habits. Let me show you why. As I said, your habits are maintained by the reptilian part of the brain, the oldest part of the brain. And a habit is simply a habit. There are no good habits. There are no bad habits. Your brain, the reptilian part of the brain just does what it does and it maintains your habits. The reptilian brain also works from the premise that every habit that you have is needed for survival. That's why it's so hard to break a habit because the reptilian part of the brain is working from Whatever habits you have, I have to maintain those habits. Why? Because you need that habit for survival. Then what happens is the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of the brain. Let's take smoking for example. That part of the brain says No, you should not do that. Smoking is bad for you. So what happens is the prefrontal cortex thinking part of the brain thinks that smoking is a bad habit. But the reptilian older part of the brain doesn't know bad or good. It just knows habits. And it doesn't want to abolish any habits because it believes all your habits are needed for survival. So then what happens is you literally have two parts of your brain juxtaposed. You have one part of the brain saying Hey, I want to eliminate this habit. You have another part of the brain saying Nope. Nope. Nope. We are not eliminating that habit. Now you have set your brain up to work against itself. This is why it is so damn hard for people to change their habits because they don't know the mechanisms, the brain mechanisms of habits which we're digging into in this episode.
Okay. So I think you're starting to recognize that any time that we say we want to create something different in life, we're thinking that psychologically which prefrontal cortex thinking part of the brain. But what we're really saying is that we want to change some habit. And then what we do, which is the wrong way or the least effective way that doesn't work, is we try to create change with the thinking, analytical, prefrontal cortex part of the brain and it doesn't work. Because habits come from a different part of the brain, which is a reptilian part of the brain. Then what people do is they say something like You know what, I'm going to use my willpower. I'm going to make this happen. And look at your own life. Most times when you have tried to use willpower you have failed. Because again, what you're doing is one part of the brain, the thinking part of the brain is posturing, thinking, analyzing and saying I'm going to change XYZ habit. The reptilian part of the brain is saying No, you're not. That habit is needed for survival. Then we get into what's called the Brain Battle. I call it the Brain Battle- one part of the brain is battling with the other. Then what happens is the analytical brain says Well, I'm going to fight harder because you know what? I'm fighting you and you're making the habit even stronger. So I'm going to fight it even more. And I'm going to, I'm going to use my willpower. And in the end what generally happens is you actually revert back to your old habits again. And the reason why is because willpower is also a fixed finite resource. Willpower is like using the, you know, using your cell phone. If you have a charge beginning of the morning, you've got a full battery. But the more that you use it into the day, you've got no battery. And the same thing with willpower. The more of it you use, the more you deplete, the less you have. The less you have, the less you're able to use to facilitate behavioral change.
Here's something that I want you to understand and this will be a big aha for a lot of you, is that once you get in the brain battle, the thinking part of the brain arguing with the reptilian part of the brain where the habit comes from. Which I'll get into in just a moment. Because part of having the habit is an urge. I'll go there in just a moment. But when you actually analytically start fighting the urge which comes from the reptilian part of the brain. Make no mistake, the urge and the reptilian part of the brain will always, always, always win. Because the urge is stronger than the analytical thought. So let that sink in. Let's take an example here. And this is one that I actually have in my habit training program is diet coke. I drank that garbage and it is garbage for a lot of years. The artificial sweetners in it and I did read somewhere that for every soda that you drink, it takes 13 glasses of water to cleanse your kidneys. That stuff is horrible. I don't know if it's true or not. But part of me does believe that there is something in that drink that is addictive. I drank it for a lot of years and using a process that actually I'm going to teach you not in this episode but in the video somewhere else. And remind me, I just want you to recognize right now that there will be a video link in the show notes where you can go watch a video on how to easily use what I'm telling you and what you're learning here to break your bad habits.
Okay, but let's take diet coke for example, I drank that crap for a lot of years. And analytically I would say You know what, you know Jim you shouldn't drink that. It's not good for you. It's bad for you blah blah blah. Many of you have been there with smoking and sugar, different things you do in your life, diet coke etc. So analytically I would say You know what, I need to stop drinking diet coke. And tomorrow I would be right back at the old habit again. And I was in the habit of having at least one diet coke a day after lunch and my rationalization was well, You know what, I don't drink coffee and I do want the caffeine. So one diet coke a day is okay for me. But then when I decided that I wanted to stop the habit, what happened was is that I was in the habit. Meaning the brain-based habit and a habit is just a habit of drinking it every day. So then what would happen is I'd get in the brain battle of have the diet coke. No, don't have the diet coke. Have a diet coke. No, don't have a diet coke. And then ultimately what would happen is I would collapse into the reptilian habit and then I would have a diet coke. Then what I would do is I would say something like see, you know, I can't break this habit anyway. It's got a hold on me. It's just a habit. Man, this habit is really hard to kick and that cycle went on for years.
Until I learned what you're learning here and you will learn in the video down in the show notes. Let me explain a little more about that process and the Neurology of it. I said a little earlier. See when you have a habit, what happens is the brain knows it's like an alarm clock, you set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. The alarm goes off. What happens is your brain knows that it's supposed to be, the reptilian part of the brain, knows that it's supposed to get in the habit at a certain time. So what it does is it gives you the urge. Here's the the place where a lot of people fail. It gives you the urge to have the diet coke. Here's what most people do is they fight the urge. Now, we've got brain battle going. We got the reptilian part of the brain with the urge and the urge get stronger. We've got the analytical part of the brain saying No, no resist, resist, resist. You don't need it. You don't want it. It's not good for you. And this is where the battle starts. What I want you to and we also have habit voice here, which habit voice comes from the reptilian part of the brain. And the Habit voice is saying Go ahead, go ahead. Go ahead. You're going to fail anyway, go ahead and have that diet coke. What I want you to clearly get, and I know you've experienced it because you have a brain and your brain does the same thing to my brain does, is once the habit it's time for it to happen. Like people will say things like Every day, every day at 3 o'clock. I smoke a cigarette or I have a diet coke or whatever. What happens as the reptilian Brain knows that needs to happen. Then the urge kicks in to actually push you into the habit. Then we get into the brain battle. So I want you to see very very quickly here is that we do set ourselves up for a battle which you have probably done. And then we get into you know fighting the urge with the conscious voice and we fail pretty much I would say about 95% of the time.
Now, let me give you something here. And this is literally... I'm thinking through this whether or not I want to share this because it's going to make a lot of people mad and that's okay. Alcoholics Anonymous. When I have looked up what are their success statistics, I have found anything from 50 to 70%. It depends upon what you read. I have found no definitive evidence on you know, what based upon all the collective evidence here is the success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous. So I don't know. But let me tell you when it comes to the brain how Alcoholics Anonymous is a broken brain model. Because it doesn't take into consideration how the brain works. The way that Alcoholics Anonymous works is one of well one way but two choices. On your left hand you have a lifetime of drinking and all the bad things about it. On your right hand you have a lifetime of sobriety. So, in your left you have drinking. On your right you have sobriety and you are in the middle. And then what that does is that puts you up for a sea salt of a lifetime. Left hand drink, right hand not drink. Left hand drink, right hand not drink. And here's where most people fail. Left hand thinking about not drinking is not as powerful as... left hand drinking is not as powerful as right hand staying sober. So what happens is we get into the emotions, people get into the emotions and the urges of drinking and it pulls them right back into the habit again.
The failure of that model is that it sets you up or sets people up and this is the way people structure all their habits as well, is sets people up for EITHER OR. Either drink the diet coke Or do not. But you're in the middle like a seesaw and you have to choose between the analytical thought and the urge and it is a constant turmoil and battle for most people. Let me tell you the most powerful place to put yourself and then we'll wrap this episode up. When I stopped drinking diet coke and by the way, you will learn this in the video that's in the show notes where we go through this. When I stopped drinking diet coke, I removed myself from the model of either have diet coke or do not. It's good for you or bad for you. Where I went psychologically is this. And this is the most powerful place that we can work from. Today, I work from and there's a whole there's a very very simple but whole process in the video below. Where I work from is that diet coke is not either or for me. That's not where I work from. Where I work from is this. Diet coke for me is a thing of the past! Notice, when I keep my attention their diet coke for me is the thing of the past. No longer am I in that brain battle, EITHER OR state. Which I would lose over, and over, and over again.
A caveat here. I do want to point out if you are actually smoking cigarettes or you know someone that's drinking way too much. I highly recommend a couple of books. They're called The Easy Way To Stop Smoking and The Easy Way To Stop Drinking by Alan Car. I believe his last name is simply C A R, Alen Car. The Easy Way to Stop Smoking and The Easy Way To Stop Drinking. These books are very effective at removing people from EITHER OR model. And having them actually take the habit disassociate from the habit and making it a thing of the past for them. Like I've done with diet coke. Okay. I know in this episode we've talked about a whole lot of brain jargon and big words like prefrontal cortex and you know, the brain battle and all this kind of stuff and all these big brain all this big brain stuff. But let's keep this really simple. What I want you to do is go in the show notes and watch the video. It's about a 20 minute video where I actually will walk you through a process. And that process is the process that I used, the exact process that I used to kick a 15-year diet coke habit in a matter of one day with no cravings. If I can do it, you can do it. So your fundamental thought for today is this is You are not your habits! Consider that. You are not your habits! You are not your urges! You are not your habit voice telling you to go into the habits!
See what most people do is they think they are the habit voice. They think that is them when it's really their reptilian Brain talking. Do not personalize your habits. So for example, a lot of people when they fail let's say at drinking diet coke. They fail. What they do is they personalize the habit which is nothing more than a brain-based habit. And they say See, I told you I am weak. I don't have any willpower. I have no strength. I cannot do it and they are simply actually personalizing and psychologically making it about them when it's nothing more than a habit. So your FUNDAMENTAL TAKEAWAY from this week is this. You are you and your brain runs your habits. You are not your habits. You predominantly cannot change your habits by fighting your habits. What you must do is you must communicate with the conscious analytical part of the mind. You must communicate with the part of the brain, the reptilian part of the brain that sustains the habit. When you do that, it becomes very, very easy for you to break your habits. Okay. So as I said a little earlier multiple times, go below in the show notes. There should be a video for you, a link to watch that will show you the exact steps for you to break any habit that you do not want. Already. So stay tuned and keep listening because in the next episode I'm going to be talking... we're going to go a different direction. We're going to actually stop the brain stuff in the next episode and we're going to we're going to talk about how you can live from your Highest Potential.
I'm going to tell you right now you might already be thinking. Oh, okay. Well, I've heard this and I've heard that. No. What you hear in the next episode. I promise you, you have never heard before. Because living from your Highest Potential is overrated buzzwords in the industry. Most people have no clue what it means to live from your Highest Potential and I'm going to actually start talking to you about how to live from your Highest Potential as a Cosmic Being. Living from your highest potential is an internal process. It's not like a lot of people think- an external measurement of your ability. Okay, stay tuned and keep listening. Thanks for listening to this episode.
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