You may have heard it before, but I think that it is worth repeating. One of the fastest ways to change a bad habit is to wear a rubber/elastic band around your wrist and flick it whenever you catch yourself doing something that you want to change.
Habits are formed over time and become so ingrained in our brain that they become 'normal'. The longer that you have had the habit the harder it is to change or eliminate it.
It can take up to 80 days to change a habit, particularly if it is a life-long one. I don’t know who came up with the theory that it only takes 21 days to change a habit, if it was that easy we wouldn’t have any bad habits would we?
Because it is so hard to change a habit, we often give up before the new habit is formed. Or, we change something related to the new habit far too early and haven’t allowed enough time for the new habit to form because we think that what we are doing isn’t working fast enough.
If you change just one thing associated with the new habit, which is just a pattern of behaviour, it is like starting from day one again. It is important to stick with what you started for as long as you can.
However, I found that using the rubber band technique can speed up the process of change. The downside, there's a bit of pain involved. The amount of pain is up to you…
The idea is to flick the rubber band on the inside of your wrist, this area is very sensitive to pain. The pain caused by flicking the band changes your pattern of behaviour as the pathways formed from the previous repetitive habit is disrupted. Each time you flick the band the brain no longer follows the same pattern, it is too busy trying to hide from the pain!
I used this technique when I was going through a bad patch continually having negative thoughts. The more I thought about the same bad thing the harder I flicked the band. Sometimes I would end up with a red welt on the inside of my wrist but I tell you what, I soon stopped having those negative thoughts.
This technique took three months to work for me and 16 years later I now only have to touch the inside of my wrist with the tip of my finger and my mood changes immediately to a positive one. I guess the brain is worried that it is going to feel pain if it doesn’t cooperate.
Try it for yourself, just be a little gentler with yourself than I was.