Why you must Kick Bad Habits to Achieve Goal Success

You need to kick bad habits to achieve goal success because if you don’t they will definitely sabotage your energy, focus and determination. And now scientists investigating the role of dopamine (the pleasure chemical) in our brains can give us insight into how to do this.

We all know the key to sticking to our goals and achieving longterm success is to develop good habits of thinking, feeling and action.

But how can you become one of those chosen few who finally say “I did it” when it comes to achieving goals to lose weight, stop smoking or start exercising?

My proven advice: first clear the bad habits even while you begin to develop and instill the good habits which day by day, week by week, month by month will result in goal results which will amaze and delight you. But let’s how see this is evidenced by science.

Scientists Say: “It’s all in the Brain”

Scientists examining the role of the chemical dopamine in our brains and how it sets us up for bad habits throw light on why we have a challenge to kick bad habits to achieve goal success when they explain the role of dopamine in our brains in this article at  msnbc.com  by Lauren Neergard:

Understanding how unhealthy behaviors become ingrained has scientists learning some tricks that may help good habits replace the bad.

“Why are bad habits stronger? You’re fighting against the power of an immediate reward,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and an authority on the brain’s pleasure pathway.

“We all as creatures are hard-wired that way, to give greater value to an immediate reward as opposed to something that’s delayed,” Volkow says.

Habits set by Dopamine in the brain

Just how that bit of happiness turns into a habit involves a pleasure-sensing chemical named dopamine. It conditions the brain to want that reward again and again — reinforcing the connection each time — especially when it gets the right cue from your environment.

A dopamine-rich part of the brain named the striatum memorizes rituals and routines that are linked to getting a particular reward, explains NIDA’s Volkow. Eventually, those environmental cues trigger the striatum to make some behaviors almost automatic.

Even scientists who recognize it can fall prey.

“I don’t like popcorn. But every time I go to the cinema, I have to eat it,” Volkow says. “It’s fascinating.”

Much of what scientists know about dopamine’s role in habit formation comes from the study of alcohol and drug addiction, but it’s a key player in more common habits, too, especially overeating.

In fact, for anything that links an action and a reward, “dopamine is indispensable for the formation of these habits,” Volkow says.

Achieving goals becomes so much easier if you take charge and develop good habits. The reason good habits take the struggle out of achieving your goals is because our brains are wired to repeat any kind of repetitive behavior whether good or bad until it becomes automatic.

So the trick to achieve goal success is to program behaviors as new habits so it no longer becomes a struggle to stay on track.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything run on autopilot? Chores, eating healthy and getting your work done just happening automatically.

With a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain. And rewards you with more health, clarity, sense of well-being.

If you are technically inspired then this software called Goals on Track may help you kick bad habits to achieve goal success more speedily.

I have found working with a committed buddy – or regular sessions with a coach – also help to keep you from going back into your old habits without even realising it.  And the encouragement of another supportive human being can make all the difference.  Our minds trick us when we stay isolated and alone.

Whatever you decide, know that it’s like training a puppy – your brain just needs repeated reminders that you are changing and want to kick an old habit and replace it with a new.

Good luck and let me know if you have any tips you have found useful which could help others in the quest to kick bad habits to achieve goal success!