What is a habit? Habits are the things we do repeatedly without having to think about doing them. Some habits are good, others not so much.
A lot of the time we think of habits as being those bad things that we want to stop doing, like smoking for instance. Habits can actually take on a lot of faces. You might be in the habit of eating healthy foods or getting up early to exercise. You could have a habit of going to bed at a decent time to get a good nights sleep. Maybe you have a habit of getting a pedicure every 6 weeks because you know self care is important. These are all physical examples of positive habits, but have you ever thought about the mental habits we have?
I’ve always been good at math, not excellent, but good. When I was younger I developed a habit of finding relationships with sequential numbers. Like if I saw 549, I’d automatically think “5+4=9.” It was just something that came naturally and was fun for me to do. Can you think of anything mental that you do automatically? Here’s another example: self talk. We all talk to ourselves. Our minds are constantly saying things to us. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but you must pay attention to your self talk. Are you nice or mean? What kinds of things do you say to yourself?
The point I want to make here is that no matter what your habits are, you can change them. Going back to the example of smoking, you probably know someone who has been able to change that habit by either cutting back or quitting. If not smoking, then maybe you know someone who changed their diet or exercise to lose weight. You may even know someone that changed their way of thinking and has turned their life around. Whatever habit you have that you want to change, you can change it. You just have to decide you’re going to change it.
Try it out by choosing something small that you’re fairly certain you can change. Maybe you have a bad habit of being late, so you decide to wake up 10 minutes earlier. This is what I like to call “The Great Habit Switch.” You’re taking the unwanted habit of being late and switching it out with the new habit of waking up earlier. Once you’ve mastered a few of these easy switches, step it up to something a little more difficult. Before long you’ll be switching all your unwanted habits for better more desirable ones.