Learning to transform a conscious habit into a subconscious habit can change your life.
I will walk you through the process of creating a conscious habit, but first, it’s necessary to understand how the subconscious and conscious minds work.
Your conscious mind is the rational part of your mind, where thoughts, memories, and feelings are housed. Your conscious mind determines whether you choose to change jobs or what you will eat for dinner.
On the other hand, most of our decisions, choices, and thoughts are influenced by our subconscious minds. Such as when you stop at a red light or drink water because you’re thirsty.
Creating a conscious habit begins with making conscious choices to change your behavior. While we often go about our day on autopilot, creating conscious habits can completely change your life so that you can get rid of bad habits for good.
Over time, this type of habit forms new behaviors that become automatic and are enacted with minimum conscious awareness, according to experts with Psychology Today. Essentially, repeated behaviors become unconscious habits.
There are four phases to complete when building conscious habits. Each of these stages will help you to fully develop a new habit that you perform unconsciously – think of it as teaching yourself to perform a new skill.
It’s like brushing your teeth every night before bed or going for a routine walk every day. It’s something you do. Over time and with regular practice, you’ve taught your body this skill, which has become an unconscious habit.
Let’s go through each phase to help you learn how to implement conscious habits.
The beginning of your journey starts with self-awareness. Like learning any new skill, you must first identify what needs to be improved. What bad habits do you have that you would like to break? What positive habits would you like to form?
This phase is where you can define what habits you’d like to establish; ideally, that will help you reach predefined, long-term goals. This is also where you commit to practicing and developing a conscious habit.
Time to start improving! You have identified what you’d like to improve and realized that maybe you’re not as good at something as you previously thought.
That’s okay! Give yourself permission to go through this process and move past phase one – where you’re stagnant and scared to try. This is all part of the journey to creating conscious habits, and the process will be worth it.
Embrace the discomfort and awkwardness – it’s time to work on the new skill you identified. It’s about trying, failing, getting up, and repeating the process. There is a high likelihood that you will try and fail more than once – and that’s okay.
This is how you learn and form a conscious habit. The more effort you put in at this stage, the more you consciously develop this new skill. You will realize you can do it, which will fuel you to keep pushing.
This is the final stage in the competence process. You have moved through each phase by creating conscious habits and have formed unconscious competence.
Jonathon Jaussi describes this phenomenon: “This new skill that you’ve been working on becomes a habit, now taking significantly less time and energy while preventing you from running into the same old problems you faced before.” In this final stage, you don’t even think about it; you just do it.
Creating conscious habits and forming habits can be overwhelming. To help make the process less intimidating, I’ve put together some simple steps to create conscious habits. Remember to refer to the phases above to help you outline your process.
1. Identify What You Would Like to Change
Start with determining a long-term goal that creating a conscious habit will help you achieve.
For example, the plan may be to lose 30 pounds. To accomplish this, start going for 20-minute walks each day. The goal is small and sustainable, so you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged.
2. Positive Reinforcement.
Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you to minimize the negative energy. People who empower you are your new people!
3. Visualize the Finish Line.
Start by filling your newsfeed with those who motivate you. Next, fill your common spaces with pictures and sayings that remind you of your goal and what your reward is when you’ve accomplished it.
I encourage you to spend a few minutes each day visualizing and imagining what your life will be like when you have formed an unconscious habit.
4. Affirmations are Key.
Like positive visualization, this is where you remind your subconscious mind of positivity. Each time you tell yourself a positive statement, you are changing the way your mind thinks. So, say it often! Find a mantra that fits you, perhaps starting with, “I can do this” or “I am confident I will be successful.”
Don’t give up! Your new habit will take commitment, effort, and hard work. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Remember to keep your eye on the long-term goal you identified and how you will feel when you get there.
Eventually, you will reach a place where your identified habit is consistently performed unconsciously. Building habits one skill at a time, deliberately and consciously, is the key to success when forming unconscious habits.
Creating these habits can be challenging. If you still feel stuck or unsure how to proceed, I’m here and would love to work with you. Get in touch to schedule a meeting.