“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”, William James 1892. When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing you did; coffee, shower, exercise, read the paper, check email, brush your teeth? Whatever you did, it was,
A habit is an action, activity, or thought process that is repeated over time that becomes part of the semi-involuntary actions of a person. Habits take time to instill and are quit easy to establish if the reward of the action is immediate.
Habits are powerful!
What is a bad habit?: Any action, activity, or thought process that does not progress you toward a preferable future. Our habits dictate our future. Take these steps to break bad habits.
Realize the habit is bad
Ask yourself if what you are doing is beneficial for your life today and tomorrow or just beneficial for your immediate emotions. “Is this cake I’m eating at 12:30am in front of the fridge every night helping me be sharp for my meeting tomorrow or just quenching my appetite right now?”
Don’t break it alone
In many cases you didn’t make the habit alone and you will not break it alone either. Make new relationships with people who are living the way you want to live. Break the relationships that are keeping you in the bad habit. Enlist friends, professionals, pastor, church, and family to help.
One step at a time
The habit wasn’t formed in a day or a memorable event. Habits are carefully crafted over time. Breaking it is going to take even more careful attention and time because this is for your future and not for today. Mark Twain said “Habit is Habit, and not to be flung out the window, but coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.
Keep the future in mind
How do you want to end up? Where do you want to end up? How you live your life today will determine where you are 50 years from now. Do you want to see your great grandchildren married, retire as the CEO of the company, or celebrate your 75th wedding anniversary? Close your eyes and picture it. Keep that preferable future in mind every time you act, think, or make a decision.
Replace bad habits with positive behavior
Replace cigarettes with exercise, desserts with fruit, soda with water, negative relationships with positive. If you just stop the bad habit then all you have is a hole in your schedule, mind, and actions that must be filled. The old proverb, “You can more easily drive out a tough nail with another nail.”
We are not guaranteed a certain future. Sometimes the best and the brightest die young or tragedy strikes even when the best behaviors are in place. We cannot control life. But we can control our actions and habits to give the best future possible.