The event in the school hall had been set up with several elderly people at each table with about 4 children who asked questions, what was school like when you were a child etc. There were cakes and biscuits on the tables along with a ‘pot of tea’. I remarked to one of the elderly people that I hadn’t seen a teapot for many years. This started a conversation about making tea with tea leaves, one teaspoon for each cup and ‘one for the pot’, let it brew then pour through a ‘tea-strainer’ into the cup.
To this day I never drink the last drop of tea in my cup as I learned as a child that bits of tea leaf always got through the strainer and I’d end up with a mouthful of tea leaves. So leaving the last drop of tea in a cup became a habit, one I have carried on to the present day despite tea being in tea bags for many years! – it was a habit formed in childhood.
The psychology today website talks of habit formation being the process by which behaviours become automatic. If you instinctively reach for a cigarette the moment you wake up, you have a habit. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form. That’s because the behavioural patterns we repeat most often are literally etched into our neural pathways.
There is good news – it’s possible to form and maintain new habits.
You can change an unwanted habit by:
Identifying the trigger/cue
Identify the reward you are getting from this habit
Then consciously choose a different behaviour.
Having identified the unconscious beliefs that underpin the old habit, new beliefs can be suggested to the subconscious and the habit can be changed, thus forming a new habit, one you are more comfortable with.