A Thought About Changing Habits
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
I wrote this post about changing habits over two years ago. I have learned a great deal both in the personal experience of changing certain habits and in theory. And as I stated then, the topic of changing habits is much more significantly complex than I can address in this post.
In this article, I will share my thoughts on habits and why understanding habits in this sense can be personally beneficial when it comes to altering habits. I am by no means an expert on habit formation and change but I feel as though I’ve learned a thing or two that might help others. In a follow-on article, I will write on practices and processes that I’ve used to assist me.
What is a habit? A habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. They can be both favorable and adverse. Practices we considered healthy might be negative and vice-versa. Becuase habits are so ingrained in our neurology we often undertake them as if without conscious thought or effort.
The originality of the word is found to mean dress or attire but later adapted to the human mental and physical construct. The Latin word ‘habitus,’ condition or appearance, and ‘habere,’ have or consist of. Does this all matter? Probably not! However, it highlights the causation of habits – they become our condition or mental construct that directly affects our thoughts, behaviors, reality, and destiny.
I have some weird habits like the obsession with smelling my finger nails. I have anal practices like the need for the toilet role to be hung over, not in an under orientation. I get annoyed if not done to my preference.
Then there are those habits that are detrimental to my health and well-being like smoking and drinking. However, since writing this original post, I am glad to say have quit one and reduced the other. And finally, there are those habits that make me feel good and improve my mental clarity, performance, and overall well-being. Such as meditation, exercise, self-learning, expression, and diet.
“A man who can’t bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.” Stephen King
We all have habits we are fond of and those which we are not. And one thing I’ve come to believe is that unless your habits cause suffering to another, it needn’t matter what others think of your habits. It should only matter to your whether they are beneficial or not.
Our habits set us apart from the rest of the world. They create our personality, character, and individuality. They give us reason and insight into who we are. They build to the definition of Self.
The condition of our reality as it exists today is an assembly of all our past experiences. And while habits cannot be killed only overruled by the formation of new habits we know we can change our reality by approaching and gathering new experiences.
Each of our lives is so vastly different and therefore adopting new habits of breaking the old require and individualistic approach. The complexity of our being and the current state of reality represents its unique challenge and for that only in direct action and experimentation can we figure out what works best for us.
However, when you strip habits back to their bare bones the all share essentially the same structure and patterns and when we understand this may we be better at molding our own. I think all strategies are like this when you pull apart the layers and find the commonalities within.
We all have our share of habits, the good, the bad and the ugly. From those that inspire us to those that we admire and those that have success and those that seem to be living without any great desires. On the surface, habits go unnoticed, and behind the curtains, we may never see. We are all so busy in our own lives as we are directed and controlled by habits of our being.
If we do get a glimpse of another’s habits, it can be so easy to make a judgment or compare. I usually think, however, what annoys us in another’s actions or what we admire in those we appreciate or love is an indication of something within us that we have yet honestly dealt with resolving.
Perhaps when we see something that we admire in another or are annoyed by, we should ask ourselves “why?” and in the answer, we might discover a reply to help us accept, challenge or overcome something that’s been holding us back in disguise.
From the likes of Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Beethoven, they’ve all have healthy habits, such as reading, setting goals, and being disciplined to practice their art. They’ve even had brilliant metacognition, awareness, and understanding of one’s thought processes.
The ability to think about thinking encourages critical thinking, improves cognitive skills and allows us to differentiate what we perceive as separate but is indeed is actually united.
Despite their strengths or desirable traits for each of them, like each of us, they had habits not conducive to their life, well-being or goals. It is not about being perfect, deleting those that are unfavorable or righteously living life without guilty pleasures. It’s about living with our habits in perspective so that we can minimise the impacts they may have on our soul.
Habits can hold us back from living the life we desire. Conversely, they can set us free. They have the power to alter our destiny. For that reason, we must become more aware. Understand our habits. Those which restrict our movements and those the liberate our lives. And in understanding may we bring some more control to the condition of our life.
I have found that in focusing my ideal future vision and my core values and keeping them top of mine, I have discovered more and more autonomous direction over the course of my life. On this journey, I think we will all realize and become more aware of those habits which stand in our way and those that excel us forwards. In seeing these more clearly, I have been better motivated and equipped to make the changes that benefit my journey.
I will share my methods that have worked for me in changing some habits in the next post. How are your habits progressing you or slowing you down?