Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reshaping it All - Day 57

Reshaping it All - Day 57

Posted by Darlene Schacht, co-author of Reshaping it All

Human beings are creatures of habit:

American Idol goes on--the fridge door opens;
you drive to the school, and suddenly you feel the urge to drive thru a Starbucks;
you rent a movie, you reach for the chips...

What is it? Conditioning. Or in more human of terms "associative learning."

Back to the less human terms--remember Pavlov's Dog? We learn from those experiments that the subject not only responded to food, but that the dog also responded to anything associated with food, until eventually he thought, "If I ring this bell, I'll get food!"

Over time we associate one thought with another, until the two become one in our minds. It's one way our actions become habits.

Associative learning leads us into temptation time and time again, but it doesn't have to. There are two things that we can do to combat this cycle. One is to avoid it, and the second is to use it to our advantage.

If the coffee's calling every time you drive by a Starbucks, then try a new route. If the TV prompts you to sit at the trough, then grab a good book, or go for a walk. Make it impossible to respond to a stimuli, by removing it whenever possible.

Association can work against us, but it can also work for us--if we are clever enough to find ways to use it, and since September is a month where many of us get back into the full swing of routine, this is a great time to start!

Condition yourself to respond to your surroundings with good habits. It's what my friend Val, refers to as piggybacking good habits with those we already have in place (a little trick she taught me a few years back).

Think of something you do on a regular basis, such as watching your favorite show--now attach a good habit to it. Can you run on a treadmill during that time? What about another habit, like walking the dog, could you grab a water bottle on the way out? Eating dinner? How about a devotional time at dessert? There are so many habits and traditions that we can teach ourselves and our families--so many good habits that are waiting to become routine!

Visit Darlene at her website, Time-Warp Wife: Empowering Wives to Joyfully Serve


Last day to enter this week's giveaway:

  • A copy of Reshaping it All
  • A decorative plaque that reads: "A Journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
  • A beautiful coil-bound journal
Want to win all three? Leave a comment on any post between now and Sunday, June 26, 2011. We'll choose one winner, and announce it here on Monday. * Note: Make sure that I have a way to contact you through the comment incase you win.

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  1. What great ideas for avoiding the common everyday pitfalls of habits. It's been great Reshaping it All! Everyone's posts and blogs have been such encouragement!

    Tara Johnson

  2. This is an awesome tip! Your book is about the Christian journey, and food is simply a subtopic. I know God is changing my life and using you to teach about Christianity, marriage, health, and so much more in life. Thanks!
    Dr. Tanisha

  3. Thanks for the encouragement to break old habits and form new ones.
    Dawn T.

  4. Darlene, I love your tips today, especially the one about devotional time at dessert... I'd one up that with a great post I recently read from Ann Voskamp... and make devotional time your dessert! I so want to add that to my lifestyle reshaping!

  5. you are invited to follow my blog

  6. Thanks for the reshaping it experience!

  7. I've enjoyed the reshaping experience, thank you!