Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do

Why is it that good habits, the ones we work and toil to build and refine, are so much easier to break than bad ones?

It's easy to stop leaving for work on time, especially if a warm bed or interesting tv show beckons.  Forgetting good driving habits - turn signals and merge rules - is apparently very easy.  Snacking on a bowl of ice cream every night for a week after a long habit of healthy eating becomes way too quick and simple.

And yet, the bad habits are so hard to shake.  The stop-smoking industry makes an incredible amount of money each year from people who are struggling to quit something that's killing them... if that's not incentive enough, I don't know what is.  Many people fight to stop an ongoing habit of negative self-talk that pervades their self-conscious and affects every minute of every day.  But these thoughts and actions, the ones we know (or at least say we know) we don't like are so difficult to quit.  They just seem to hang on... sometimes for years, or forever.

Here's a radical, if easier-said-than-done, solution: treat breaking bad habits the same as we treat breaking the good ones.  Pick one bad habit - just one - and focus on all the reasons it's bad, and all the good that will come from leaving it behind.  Make a list, if it helps.  Think of things you can do instead, ways you can replace that behaviour.  Then, just...

stop.  Just stop.

Whatever it is, just stop doing it.

If you're thinking it's not that easy, I'd agree - it's tough, brutally so in some cases.  But you're tough too.  Every day, you choose to get out of a comfortable bed to do things you need to do.  You make tough decisions, and commit to and accomplish difficult things.  This decision is something you have in your power.  We each choose our own actions, our thoughts, our words, our reactions.

So what are you waiting for?

1 comment:

  1. Ahh Beth! A very very interesting blog post! I like the way you framed this. You are 100% right about this...

    I got a few bad habits I should test this out on!

    Thx for posting!