First, let’s examine just what habits are. They are defined as behavioral patterns that we tend to repeat without a lot of analytical thinking. In other words, they are activities, thought patterns, behaviors which come to us almost like our own human reflexes. They are kind of like on automatic pilot. What creates them, or should I say who? YOU do. What makes us “choose” them? Well, that question assumes that we make a choice. Some of our habits truly are automatic reflexes that we are trained (“programmed”) to do perhaps as a little child, perhaps as a young adult. So, they are not “chosen” by us but we are trained or on auto pilot to take those actions. And, as a lot of our programming, it occurred at a time when we had no reason to “push back” or no basis upon which to make a decision for ourselves. We trusted the source.
Other habits of course you will find are ones you have chosen…some good (taking a shower, brushing your teeth) and others are damaging (smoking, bad posture, excess drinking, TV as a distraction or filler, etc). Influences in our lives such as those from loved ones, parents, people we respected, lead us or at least reinforce us in regard to the choice of habits we make. Why are habits so powerful? Because they can either support us in becoming as successful as we choose in whatever area we choose, or they can stand in our way of achieving any one or more of the goals we have without us truly realizing it. We fall into the trap of thinking “well that is just the way it is.” We accept our behavior as “that is just the way I am” unless we examine it through a different “pair of sunglasses.”
Since habits can be such devastating roadblocks in our lives (e.g. stopping us from experiencing incredible relationships, health, wealth, spiritual life), I suggest they must be examined. Self-introspection is a critical step. Take a look at your behavior over a couple of days, journaling on all of your activities/behaviors no matter how big and how small, tracking each and every one. Awareness is step 1. You will find there are activities that are so habitual that you don’t even notice them…they are like sneezing. And there are ones we notice but we never thought of ourselves as “being at choice.” Also, if you have family or a spouse around you, consult with them as well since they tend to be quite honest about your habits, and generally will guide your thinking about whether the habit is serving you or not. Line them up on a sheet of paper and opposite to each habit draft a counter habit that truly would serve you. I find it is easier to rid myself of a bad habit if I replace it with a habit that truly moves me forward.