All habits start out doing something you think is good for you at the time. For example, no one starts smoking to kill themselves. Initially people start smoking because they think it might make them appear more acceptable to their peers. It may also make them feel more secure. It’s only later in life that people realize that smoking isn’t doing them any good, usually because it’s harmed their health and is costing them a small fortune. Of course, by this stage it’s too late to easily change the behaviour as it’s become second nature. It’s a habit.
The process of thinking consumes energy and is time consuming. Nature is efficient. Nature will always strive to achieve the most affect for the least amount of energy in the shortest time possible. For this reason we have evolved with two parts to our minds.
One part of our minds is the thinking, analytical mind. This part of the mind is called the conscious mind. This is where our awareness is most of the time. This part of the mind can only focus on one thing at a time which means it can become overburdened quite easily. Once this mind becomes overburdened it doesn’t function very well which is the reason for the second part of the mind.
Once the conscious mind has performed a task a number of times and realized that it’s safe and works, it no longer needs to think about the task quite as much. The subconscious mind therefore begins to take over so as to unburden the conscious mind with tasks that don’t need full attention anymore. This allows the conscious mind to pay attention to other things which conserves time and energy. The more often these tasks are performed without conscious attention paid to them, the more of a habit they become. They become second nature.
The subconscious mind is the protective mind. Its job is to protect us from all danger. Once something has become a habit, the subconscious mind assumes it is safe. The subconscious is not able to think in the same way as the conscious mind and so when the conscious mind become aware that a habit is harmful, like smoking, it’s too late. The subconscious has made it second nature and protects the habit it assumes is safe. All the thinking in the world with the conscious mind will not change habits, as the habit is now locked in the subconscious mind.
There are two ways to change habits; the easy way and the hard way. The hard way is to just change your behaviour for long enough that the subconscious mind realises that the new behaviour is safe. For example, if you want to stop smoking the hard way, all you need to do is stop smoking for long enough that the subconscious mind realises that it’s safe to not smoke anymore. Of course, this is not easy. The subconscious is much more powerful than the conscious mind and so it’s a bit like trying to lift a boulder with a feather.
The easy way is to bypass the thinking part of the conscious mind and talk directly to the subconscious mind. Explaining that a habit is harmful to the subconscious mind turns the tables very quickly. As the subconscious mind is the protective mind and the more powerful mind, it then begins to work with the conscious mind and habits can be changed very quickly. The process of bypassing the critical part of the conscious mind and establishing acceptable information in the subconscious mind is called hypnosis.