The desire to drink is truly “wired into our brains.” Bad habits are ingrained very deeply and intensely. Why are they stronger than good habits? -because we’re like toddlers who love and crave immediate reward.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and an authority on the brain’s pleasure pathway says that it is “the fudge vs. broccoli choice: Chocolate’s yum factor tends to beat out the knowledge that sticking with veggies brings an eventual reward of lost pounds.”
We alcoholics will still drink that last two or three drinks, totally forgetting for a few moments’ pleasure how we are going to feel in the morning.
“‘People tend to overestimate their ability to resist temptations around them, thus undermining attempts to shed bad habits,’ says experimental psychologist Loran Nordgren, who studies the constant struggle that addicts have between willpower and temptation.”
“People have this self-control hubris, this belief they can handle more than they can.”
Many of us are determined to keep testing ourselves. I certainly have, experimenting on a weekly basis with various attempts at moderation.
Thank goodness, researchers are coming up with some helpful suggestions to replace good habits with the ones we want to remove from our lives
Repeat, repeat, repeat the new behavior.
Exercise itself raises dopamine levels, so eventually your brain will get a feel-good hit even if your muscles protest.
Reward yourself with something you really desire.
Stress can reactivate the bad-habit circuitry. Learn ways to manage it.
And cut out the rituals linked to your bad habits.
“‘What you want to be thinking about is, `What is it in my environment that is triggering this behavior?'” says Nordgren. “You have to guard yourself against it.”‘
Go to Our Bad Habits Get Wired Into Our Brains for the full article with helpful tricks.