Old habits are hard to break

Sometimes I drive on autopilot

The other day I was driving my son home from the local splash playground. We had intended to go to a fast food restaurant on the way home (don’t judge, we all do it). Unfortunately, instead of heading to the restaurant, I headed home. At several points, I reminded myself at the next intersection to turn around but I didn’t. I still headed home. Only after returning home was I able to reset my brain to drive to the restaurant.

I’m sure this has happened to you before. It happens to everyone. Even though you are aware and paying attention, you are still, to a certain extent, working on autopilot. This is the power of habits. The road I was on is a road I’ve only ever driven to go home. Every stimulus I encountered told me to continue on my course to home. My strong desire to override this habitual programming wasn’t sufficient to override my instincts.

We humans like to think we are in control of our behavior all the time. The reality is, our ability to control our behavior is limited especially when it comes to habitualized behavior. It can be very hard to override our established programming. 

So be patient with yourself and others whenever you do stupid things. Sometimes you just need to go home before your instinctual brain will allow your conscious brain to take over.   And sometimes, you may need professional help. 

Image: "High Speed Motion" by siraphat FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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