Do you agree that one good habit can overcome many bad habits? Well, if I choose “change” as that one good habit, then I’m sure you’d agree that the task is quite possible. It will have the power to change all the bad habits into better ones.
Like one great idea has the potential to change your life, I’d say one good habit can change you.
Still, some people think it is okay to have just any habit; it doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad. If they like something, they do it, irrespective of what impact it has on their or others’ lives.
I don’t know why, but some people hate the idea of adopting good habits. It might be because learning new habits is a tedious, difficult, and a time-consuming process.
Moreover, to be asked to change your ways is certainly not acceptable by all. It might be treated as an insult, attack on their way of life, beliefs, and the right to live freely.
To those who want to stay as they are and who hate self-improvement, talking about changing their habits is worthless.
We’re often called the ‘creatures of habits’. Well, in fact, all living beings are slaves of habits, or ruled over by habits.
I believe by acquiring positive habits one can win over the bad habits that we have.
But before I go on, let me first define what a habit is, and then we’ll come to its good and the bad parts.
“A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.” ~ Frank A. Clark
What is a Habit
Most of you know the answer. Habits are addictions.
The dictionary meaning also includes the terms compulsions, dependency, tendency, obsession, tradition, pattern, and routine to define habit.
Habit means the automated repetition of our thoughts, behavior, or actions. It is actually a pattern of our thoughts that we think, words that we speak, or the things that we do.
If we do the same things again and again over a period, we’re supposed to have acquired a habit. It becomes a routine, or a usual affair.
Such behavior with time becomes involuntary or customary, requiring less of our conscious efforts, and it led more by the subconscious.
Some people have a nature of worrying, while some have an impulsion to talk too much, or some are obsessed with working. And some, like me, have a tendency to write long posts!
These are all habits, and some of them are good, while the rest are bad. I’d say that the practice of writing lengthy post is a good habit! You knew it was coming, didn’t you!
“Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.” ~ St. Augustine
Why a Good Habit is So Important
Habits guide us. They are automated mechanism, and can be compared to an auto-pilot system for navigation in our daily life.
Some of them are essential and good, like bathing, brushing our teeth, driving the car with seat belt on, or even deep breathing!
When we build a habit, we lose conscious control over it. And most of the times it happens that even after knowing that a habit is not helping us, we’re not able to break it.
Now, this is not good, and exactly the reason a habit becomes a center of concern.
Ask any psychologist, therapist, or a psychiatrist and they will tell you tons of cases where people are troubled by their force of habit.
There are habits which if not controlled in their initial stages get the better of us. This happens because we lose control over those regular impulsive behaviors, and indirectly or directly damage our life.
When such habits start affecting our daily life and make us unproductive, or propel us into doing wrong things, they become bad habits.
It is important to have good habits, and at the same time essential to keep a watch over the bad habits. Identifying, analyzing, and then accepting that you have a bad habit is very crucial.
“A man who can’t bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.” ~ Stephen King, The Dark Tower
How Bad Habits Affect Our Life
Imagine a family where the husband is addicted to alcohol, which soon becomes his necessity and nothing would stop him from resorting to drinking all the time.
His resulting behavior can have a negative impact on his job and family. He could lose his job and become useless, which could further lead to relationship problems and to a bad marriage.
If his addiction is strong, he would not be in a frame of mind to think it is bad. Instead, he would find reasons and convince himself that others are wrong and he is right.
Bad habits rule over our rational thinking. The only reasoning that works for them is: “It is my life and I can do anything that I like,” or “I do not think it is a bad habit at all.”
On the other hand, in some families, either of the spouses is so obsessed with work that they tend to ignore their family. They have less time for their family or are not very involved in it.
If one of the spouses has a habit of nagging and the other of criticizing, they are surely going to have lots of stress in the family.
Then there are people who cannot stop themselves from having relationships or extramarital affairs because it becomes their way of life or habit.
Take other common and familiar examples like people getting dependent on online social networking sites.
Such a habit consumes their precious family time, and the spouses risk estranging their relationship.
Some people drive fast thinking they save time doing so, even when they’ve got lots of free time because they form a fixed attitude, which they can’t break.
You may find others who can’t help continuously fidgeting with their mobile. They even carry it to places where they are not supposed to because they get so addicted to it!
These were some typical examples of bad habits that many of us and our families face.
Bad habits have the potential to badly affect your life leaving you helpless and robbing you of your financial, social, and relationship status.
“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” ~ Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
Can YOU Change Your Habits
Yes, of course. YOU can change anything you want, IF you want to.
If habits can be made, they can be broken. However, old habits die hard, as the popular saying goes, or you can say that new habits aren’t born easy.
Changing habits is easier said than done. Depending on the kind of habit, it can take days or months to overcome the dependency or the habit.
Habits are a form of learning, and they can be unlearned. Technically, a change of habit requires re-drawing the pathways of nerves in our brain.
A routine or a habit can be changed through conscious self efforts, by any forced demands or directives, or under pressurized circumstances.
A style or way of life is also a habit that changes with the change of time and the trends around us.
To break a habit yourself, you need to understand its nature and how it is formed.
I came through this beautiful quote, which seems to have different versions crediting different sources, and the one I use was framed by Mahatma Gandhi.
“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.”
It is clear from the above description that you need to change your beliefs and thoughts to change your habits, for they are the seed of all kind of behaviors and actions.
So, that means habits are the result of choices you make. This further proves that you can change your choice to change your habits, or make a right choice to learn a good habit.
Some habits are inherited or have a predisposition in favor of their parent’s habits, which the children learn in their childhood when they live with their parents.
It is observed that children mostly start behaving like their parents, and this learned nature is passed on to their own children. All of this doesn’t end unless someone in the generational chain opts to change.
This continuation of habits is called a pattern, and it is important that one becomes aware of it. If the habit pattern causes harm, then I believe it needs to be changed, broken, or improved upon.
“Just do it! First you make your habits, then your habits make you!” ~ Lucas Remmerswaal
What Good can a Good Habit Do
If your intention and thoughts are good, you’ll develop a good habit, which is again nothing but an addiction that brings positive and helpful results.
A positive addiction gets positive results and brings satisfaction, peace, and happiness in the person’s life. The assurance that one is doing the right thing lessens anxiety, and creates confidence.
Here are some good habits, and the good things they do to us.
- Good health habits invite hygiene and fitness. They increase the chances of better health.
- Good study habits create a possibility of a better career and brighter future.
- Good personal habits help make you a successful and better person.
- Good eating habits make it easier for you to stay physically active and maintain your weight.
- Good financial habit to save equips you with skills to keep up or increase your bank balance, as every penny saved is a penny earned!
- Good lifestyle habit can make your life easier, and maybe even leave the world a bit greener, if you adopt the green environmentalist way.
- Good social habits enhance your reputation, create your positive image, make people like you and have plenty of friends.
- Good work habits relieve you from undue stress and anxiety, and help you balance your home-work life.
- Good sleeping habits save you from many life miseries like stress, obesity, and other mental and physical diseases.
- Good spiritual habits, whether it involves God or not, bring contentment and a secured feeling.
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” ~ Anonymous
Good habits lead to a good life, and nobody can deny that. And they also help you reach your desired goal.
I feel one good habit that has made my life easier is the ability to take out positives from any event in my life.
I’ve learnt to make the best of things, no matter the situation I am put in, which makes me stronger and better as a person. This has now become a habit, or shall I say a good habit with me. What is yours?
“Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you” ~ Elbert Hubbard
Changing your bad habits to good habits does need you to give yourself that much required PUSH.
So, are you ready to give up your bad habits or pick up a good habit?
A force of a first effort, loads of perseverance, bulk of endurance, and lots of motivation is needed to climb the mountain of resistance of changing habit and reach the summit of a steady and better life.
Get started with one good habit, today!
“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” ~ John Irving
Over to you –
Do you have any of the above mentioned habits? What have your experiences been with good habits? Did you find any inherited habit patterns in your life and how did you deal with them? Do you believe a good habit really helps? Share your views below.
Posted on: August 24th, 2012
Last Updated on: January 9th, 2013