Why Do We Engage in Self-Destructive Behavior

I don’t know why I do things a lot of times. I have these clear goals and I know how to start moving towards those goals, but sometimes in spite of that I do other things.

One of the things I’ve most noticed is the time I waste right after I get up. First thing in the morning is a potentially a really productive time for me. Once I get up and have a cup of bulletproof coffee, my mind is clear and if I start working it isn’t that hard to start getting through things. I haven’t been doing that though. I usually spend at least an hour just screwing around on facebook or browsing the internet. An hour a day over the course of a week or a month is a lot of time. More than enough time to make a meaningful dent in some sort of project.

A lot of times I go out with the intention of just having a drink or two, but end up having five or six. I don’t want to have five or six, but I finish the first and buy a second. And then finish the second and buy a third. It just kind of goes on for no real reason.

I guess part of this is the whole idea of the path of least resistance. We tend to do what everyone else around is doing, especially if we aren’t being conscious about our own goals and motivation.

There has to be more to it than that though. Why is it so difficult to stay focused on our main goals and motivations and so easy to get sidetracked? It took me two hours of thinking about writing this before I actually started writing it. I’m only a couple hundred words in now and I already feel better because I’ve sat down to write. Writing is something important to me that I’d like to improve at. I know that. I know that when I do, I feel better both during and after. But it’s still really hard to get started. Why is that?

I’ve thought lately about the idea of the subconscious vs. conscious mind. I’ve head the stat that 95% of the decisions we make are made by our unconscious mind. I don’t know if you can really separate it down that specifically, but I do think that our unconscious minds play a huge role in what we do, and that’s a little frightening. We like to think we are in conscious control of our lives, but that’s probably not the case. Most of the stuff we do is on autopilot.

The conclusion I’ve sort of come to relates back to an ongoing theme here, processes. While we can’t control our unconscious mind, we can train it. We can establish good habits so that our autopilot decisions are the ones we would make anyway if we were more conscientious about it. This is something I still need to learn a whole lot about.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a really interesting subject that I’d like to get into more. NLP is a tool for doing what I just described, training you subconscious to do what your conscious mind wants.

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