What’s Emotion Got to Do With Habits?

Following on my Habits Don’t Work post, I’d like to share something that can really help you sustain any kind of pattern in your life.

You just need to add emotion to it.

How many times have you tried to sustain a pattern without working with emotions? Were you successful?

Emotions can reinforce patterns exponentially.

Lots of feeling.

It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative.

Negative feelings can reinforce a pattern just as much as positive ones can.

For example, facing some intense pain from a bad relationship break up can shape your patterns of response to future relationships from there on out.

And then there is negative reinforcement of all types.

The threat of pain and punishment from not meeting sales goals, not listening to your parents, your own expectations. And many more.

Do you want a habit reinforced with negative emotions? How does that make you feel even as it is motivating you to maintain a pattern?

And in the building phase, negativity can derail habit building.

The last time you worked on a habit and you did feel something, what did you feel?

Like it was a slog?
How hard it was?
Feeling failure when you couldn’t?

Were any of those feelings helpful in your maintaining a pattern? Probably not.

What if you felt something different?

Might you prefer habits reinforced by positive emotions instead?

Hopefully oodles of POSITIVE FEELINGS.

So if you’re trying to sustain a new pattern in your life, how might you do it with positive emotions?

Reflecting on its positive effects.
Closing your eyes and really acknowledging how good it feels.
Chasing after the positive feelings associated with the activity.
Reinforcing and reminding yourself of all the good things you feel every time you do it.

I invite my clients to become aware of the positive feelings that emerge, and then chase after them. To keep reminding themselves of whatever good things they feel and be aware they are feeling them again and again.

Give it a try next time you are starting a new pattern. I am betting your efforts will flow with more ease and positivity!

Got a habit you’re trying to build and can’t seem to do it? Put it in the comments along with what you feel when you try and let’s take a look!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *