Polarized Habits Are as Bad for You as Political Polarization And for the Same Reason

Whether you are a democrat or republican Election 2016 will be an election that we all remember. It’s the election were the division between the liberals and conservatives in one of the most powerful countries in the world flaunted their distaste for another in the grandest display of disunity since the Civil War.

Unity,in my opinion, be it nationally or on a personal level comes from a place of self-confidence, empathy, and trust. So does, in my opinion, both  patriotism and humanitarianism.

Mostly because, neither patriotism nor humanitarianism can exist when you make enemies of those you wish to serve. This is also true, I find, when it comes to improving upon bad habits.

The definition of Political Polarization is ” the divergence of political attitudes to ideological extremes”.

Now consider the following phrase:

“Habit Polarization”. The divergence of habits to ideological extremes.”

The by-product of both is ‘cognitive dissonance’ which is ‘the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change’.

In real life it’s known as  feeling ‘annoyed, frustrated, infuriated, betrayed, and depressed by the choices that are made’.

Which is why we’re going to be taking a look at some of the similarities between political and polarized habits before getting into how to become…(cue music)…The Depolarizer!

How Polarized Politics Impacts Our Attitudes.

 Unfortunately….it ain’t no love story.


Now Let’s talk about polarized habits….

Let’s call the part of you that doesn’t want to let go of bad habits, The Contrarian Party. It’s a party whose representatives are bad habits.

My Contrarian Party Representatives Were/Are: smoking, staying up late, not drinking enough water, and negativity. Yours Might be Different.

These representatives act in accordance to the Contrarian Party Values that are designed to keep you away from the things that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

My Contrarian Party Values Were/Are: Fear of not being able to reach my goals, fear of my work being rejected, and the feeling that by not having achieved enough already I have set myself to fail permanently at my goals. Yours Might be Different.

The Contrarian Party is in the opposite side of the spectrum from The Futurist Party. These guys have not given up hope that things can be made better, and that though it might require enduring discomfort and facing the unknown changing bad habits will in the end be a good thing.Like their opponents The Futurist Party has its own representatives and its own set of values.

My Futurist Party Representatives Were/Are: being able to say no to most major distractions, the tendency to see things through, not getting completely ‘stuck’ during harsh times, and the ability to bring good people into my life. Yours Might be Different.

My Futurist Party Values Were/Are: My attitude absolutely affects the final outcome, my actions can bring change and I’m responsible for that change, and everything worth doing means enduring some discomfort. Yours Might be Different.

Both the Contrarian Party and The Futurist Party are a part of you. When they become polarized and treat each other like enemies–we succumb to negativity, procrastination, self-doubt, and hunger for distractions.

Basically they behave like existing polarized political parties, and whether it is from “Political Polarization” or “Habit Polarization” the suffering is identical because…

  1. There will always be a Contrarian Party. A PART OF YOU will always want to hold on to or return to a bad habit and resist habits that challenge fears and insecurities. 
  2. There will always be a Futurist Party. A PART OF YOU will always want to improve, be proactive, and want to challenge fears and insecurities despite any discomfort.
  3. Self-confidence, trust, nor empathy will never grow on their own.  Humans have a tendency to think that problems work themselves out over time–and it is an awful awful lie. Especially when it comes to the three things I’ve listed.



What You Should Realize

Angry Rhetoric and Fear Mongering May Already Exist in your  Head.

As political parties become polarized our perception becomes more negative , harsh rhetoric rules the day, self-confidence in our own party suffers and we begin craving an escape.

Attitudes, political or otherwise, behave the same way. They will always come before any action you take or anytime you have to bear the discomfort that leads to: growing, taking a risk, or even learning something.

What’s true for politics is also true for your mind. Meaning if your attitude towards a bad habit is that of enmity odds are the results will be angry rhetoric and fear mongering within your own mind.

Both of them diminish your self-confidence and willpower, and will leave you aching for an escape from habit building.

What You Should Recognize Immediately!!!

You’re Are a Powerhouse When You Use Positive Self-talk

If you have ever played a sport or worked out, self-talk is what you use when you tell yourself: “you can do it” during an intense match or session. It’s the voice in your head that says that “you’re in control” when a workday spirals out of hand you have to restore order. It’s saying “you’re learning and making progress” when your life seems like a mess.

Here’s the skinny on positive self-talk.

  1. Positive self-talk refers to the present- Negativity is the world’s least fun time machine because it takes you to all the worst points of the past at a pace slow enough to distract you for hours and even days. Positive self-talk is like a helpful and appreciative friends who makes sure you stay productive and focused by acknowledging what you’re doing well and where you can do better next time.
    1. Negative-  I could have finished this post days ago if I didn’t make it such a low priority and get distracted. I probably could have written three posts.
    2. Positive – I am finishing up this post so that it doesn’t get delayed any further and I am learning how to write better content through this experience.
  2. Positive self-talk is specific about what you’re doing or not doing- Polarized habits can quickly turn into sweeping generalizations and defeatist slogans. It’s easy to start labelling yourself or the world around you in negative terms. Since labels allow us to quickly assess what we know about something it’s very easy to train our subconscious to be less helpful and pleasant. Being specific with positive talk helps you change the labels in your world to things that are more helpful and ease your stress while boosting productivity. So when you turn it towards reinforcing a positive habit instead of enabling a negative one  you begin changing your whole perspective.
    1. Negative– “I’ve never been a morning person so I’m not even going to try.” or “If I sleep in at least I’ll be more awake when I do wake up.”
    2. Positive– “I can become a morning person by going to bed early and setting an alarm.” or  “I can improve my productivity right now by getting up because then I’ll have more of the day available to get my work done.”
  3. Positive self-talk mediates the discomfort associated with risk and change- Here’s a hard fact about your life: you will not become more comfortable with anything by avoiding it. Managing your discomfort so that you can take risks, grow and evoke change is fundamental to building new habits and self-discipline. Imagine if you placed a Trump voter in the same room and asked them questions about US politics. What would be the outcome? Now imagine if the habit you’re trying to break is placed in the same room with its replacement. Would the room be less tense or more tense? Positive self-talk  acts as a mediator between your inner political parties. It helps them acknowledge each other’s fears, and points out where bad habits hurt both parties. In short, it helps you get to a more positive place with helpful transitional step.
    1. Negative– “I’ve never been a morning person so I’m not even going to try.” or “If I sleep in at least I’ll be more awake when I do wake up.”
    2. Transitional– “I am afraid of missing out on spending time with friends so I stay out late and then sleep in. I’m afraid if I start getting up early I’ll always be missing out.”
    3. Positive– “By planning more events during the daytime I can get more sleep and set an alarm so that I wake up early. Though I’ll miss out on some things, this gives me the chance to try new things. Like Hiking!”

A back and forth between two polar opposites is usually a heated one, but with the help of a mediator aka ‘positive self-talk’ aka a third-party you’ll find that your inner political parties can in fact work together.

To end on the same point that this article began on–the part of you that doesn’t want to let go of a habit is not your enemy. It is in fact a powerful ally with a lot to offer and one that you want on your side. However, to become allies and work together–first you must learn how to depolarize your thinking with the help of positive self-talk.

If this article helped just one person I’ll feel like it was a success, so let me know what you think in the comments section.

Also remember, you don’t have to be perfect. You are capable of making an improvement everyday and most of all, be nice to yourself and others.


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