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Why Fuss About a Good Habit


By with 58 comments
A poster listing the watch your thoughts poem

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

A divider sign board showing signs of good habits and bad habits in opposite direction

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.

 

Photo CreditEvelynGiggles and theps.net



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About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

58 Comments

  1. Lisa

    August 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Harleena.

    I have a good one for being on time but it creates a bad one for driving fast. I got a ticket a few weeks ago and hope to change the habit. Thanks for sharing your tips. It is amazing how habits can shape our lives.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Glad you could find something to take away from the post Lisa!

      No doubt that habits have the power to change our life. Habits are the ones that matters the most in our personal, family, and professional relationships. Good habits actually drive us to success and excellence.

      Some people like my husband feel uneasy when they drive slowly. It’s how he’s been since ages and finds it difficult to change. But I’m sure he too will finally make the effort to change his habit!

      Thanks for stopping by. Always nice to have you over. :)

  2. Sylviane Nuccio

    August 25, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Excellent post, Harleena and I really enjoyed it.

    Most habits are totally subconscious as you mentioned and that’s why they are so entrenched in us. As I am sure you know, the subconscious doesn’t like change that’s why bad habits are so tough to go away while new habits are hard to come in. It is said that the main difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is in their habits.

    As a matter of fact, a habit can be taken in 21 days if practice every day consistently for that period of time.

    Some habits can also become tics, and those are deep in the subconscious and the hardest one to get rid of. As a matter of fact impossible unless the person having them is really motivated.

    You’re right, even writing long or short post is a habit. I have the same habit you have, because I’ve noticed that this is a writer’s habit.

    Thanks for this very instructive post, Harleena :)

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Glad you like the post Sylviane!

      Yes, absolutely. We often underestimate the power of our subconscious mind, and habits that get rooted there are the most difficult ones to remove. Motivation is the key, as you say, and that can come from any source – I hope someone gets inspired reading my post!

      The 21 day ‘habit change’ period is said to be scientifically proven, however, I say to believe in ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ and then you can defy all time barriers.

      To be successful, the easiest and the best thing to do is to copy the habits of those who are successful. It may or may not work for you, generally it does, but you get on to the right track.

      I’m soon going to start short posts too, for a change. Not that I think my long posts bother you, but I need to be able to change my habits at will, whenever I want.

      Thanks for adding useful information to the post. :)

  3. Mayura

    August 25, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Hi Harleena,

    You are absolutely correct about your tendency to write long posts ;) I’ll second that.

    I think too much addiction is too bad. It could be something good, but on the other end it may affect someone else so badly.

    Once I was really into blogging, I mean yet I do, but that time I wasn’t thinking about other sort of work I had. I wasn’t responding to text messages or calls on mobile. Mostly they were from my girlie, and she was worrying about me, but very patient ’cause she knows I’m on my blog. I wasn’t having meals properly too. Yet I’m not ;) However we always used to discuss if something bugging for us. In that way I’ve got that she may feels like I’m ignoring her, and I really wanted to change it. So now I control myself and take time to respond while on blogging. It’s not easy, but it can be done if we need to.

    I’m not a boy with full of good habits. I’m improving and learning from people around me. Fortunately my background is very peaceful. I think it matters. The background, personality, education etc. Isn’t it Harleena? I’ve seen some boys in same age, dealing with drugs, used to smoking, break up with partners and they say “They do what they wanna do” and “They won’t get another time in life to do those things”. Sometimes I feel that they just don’t understand what’s the life is. They will eventually, but it may be too late. Could be DOGMA?

    Cheers…

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 7:17 am

      You got your basics right Mayura!

      Yes, I think compared to other people of your age, you’re quite sensible about life and what it is all about. If you only live once, then it is all the more important to live it the right way. Although this involves a lot of subjectivity, but there are some generalizations that one can adopt, and good habits are one of them.

      When we hear the word addiction, generally we tend to think of the negative or bad habits. However, even the good habits are addictions, but as implied, of a good nature. But you’re right, even getting too addicted to good habits can be disturbing at times, depending on that habit and the circumstance, for which we need to be ready to adjust to change. Like having a good habit of following a working schedule – now if for some reasons you can’t keep your schedule, your work should not be affected. You need to be flexible to adapt to the change and adjust with the present options and resources at hand.

      You noticed your habit and decided to go for a change, and that’s a big step forward. Acceptance is primary, and many people can’t even do that. Everybody has some or the other bad habit, and we all need to change them. The personal and family background does matter.

      As for me, its time that I write short posts also, but I think I’ll treasure my habit of writing long comments! ;)

      Thanks for sharing your personal life instances with all of us. :)

  4. Anne

    August 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I’m always on time. My husband has never had to wait for me to get ready in the 16 years we’ve been together! As you said, forming a habit takes time. The fact is that we took time to form that bad habit. It sometimes occur to us that we’re forming a habit in the process of doing so, but we ignore our gut feeling and just plough on until we can’t stop ourselves.

    The trick is to stop and make a turn around when you suspect you’re in the middle of bad habit forming. It’s easier to break then. Becoming an alcoholic may take years to form, but somewhere in the middle, we know we’re doing it. Break it in its infancy.

    I strive not to form bad habits. I pray that at this stage of my life that I don’t do so. The social networking one is a real threat to so many people.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      That’s really a very good habit Anne!

      My father, being in the army, has that habit built-in to his nature – always does all his work on time. Ladies are infamous to get late for some reason or the other, but you prove that conception wrong – that’s bad. (lol)

      You hit the nail on the head – “break the bad habit in its infancy.” That’s the key. And this is where most people fail. The other reasons why people end up forming bad habits are – they fail to recognize it growing, they ignore to accept the fact that they’ve bad habits. This post is all about making people think about this aspect.

      Once aware, you need to use your will, and as you mention one gets a “gut feeling.” Once you ignore this you’re past the most important barrier, and if your will is weak, then the habit has had the better of you.

      My husband keeps a check on me if I ever spend more than the required time on social networking or my blog. Such a support system also helps, and that’s where family comes to help in our personal development.

      Thanks for your personal views and suggestions. :)

  5. dadblunders

    August 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Harleena,

    Over the years the best habit I have picked up is like yours – I can take things out of life and try to make good out of them. I have to make the decision for myself because it was the only logical place left to go. I had nowhere else left to turn and it has helped me immensely.

    The funny thing about life is when tragedy happens we can do things with it or suffer with it.I have done both in my life. I have made a habit of both and seen the effects of both. I can tell you without any doubt it is much better to live the positives in your life.

    I think ….no I know… it’s why I tell people today pieces of my life and things can be better. I have made it a habit to see good in things. Let me give you my most recent example…I was in car accident Thursday evening. I am going to get blamed for it and technically it was my fault. There was another car that stopped in the middle of the road that diverted my attention. I have a busted headlight now and bent bumper. I don’t know when I will get them fixed I have liability only because of the age of the car.

    The positives…Xander and I weren’t hurt. I looked at him first. As the accident was happening I looked at him in the mirror. We are okay! (although I have had a days worth of writers block it will pass and I know it)….life will be okay as it always is….
    Aaron

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Aaron!

      It’s really a good habit – “optimism.” Positivity in any adversity, hope till the end of the rope, and as you say “making good out of any episode.” I’m sure you feel life is much easier with this outlook and habit.

      You mentioned about the logical option, and I think we should form any habit only if its logical, and drop off the illogical options. To drink or smoke too much is illogical, as it causes harm and damage. Whereas, getting up early in the morning or keep smiling are logical, as they help our physical and mental system. And you may find many good habits, or almost all of them, to be based on some logic, and you can’t deny them.

      With your experience you developed a good habit of “making the right choice.” You chose to do things with whatever happens, rather than opting to suffer. And I think that is great. Your habit of “seeing good in things” has saved you from more than required stress, anger, shock, guilt or any other suffering resulting from your recent accident.

      Good that you both are safe and unhurt. I generally console myself saying things could’ve been worse…and that’s actually the truth. A habit to be “thankful” for everything that our elders taught us, really makes sense now.

      Thanks for sharing your wonderful habits and experiences. :)

  6. Dwayne Castle

    August 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Good post Harleena.

    I’ve got plenty of bad habits, most stem from the larger one… procrastination. I will begin working on that one tomorrow. Really, I will. But my true add on to this conversation is the habit I see many people, myself included, engaging in.

    We look at others and see their habits, circumstances or appearance or we hear their speech pattern and vocabulary, or smell them… and then we make a determination about who that person is. The truth is we are all the culmination of our life experiences leading us to this very moment. And so it is to the moment we criticize, avoid, or shun those who are “different, weird, or abnormal.” We don’t know what their story is or why they are “that way” but instead of loving them, we judge them and condemn them to their bad habits or poor circumstances.

    I believe that may be the worst habit of all and one which I am working to overcome, by good habit of reaching out to those who aren’t, by my definition, “normal”.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Nice to see you again Dwayne!

      I’m glad you liked the post. I agree with you: “judging others” is not a good habit; however, “judging your own self” is a good habit and I see you’ve that. As the saying goes, “a good start is half the work done,” I’d say spotting and accepting that you’ve bad habits prepares the way in for good habits.

      Our perceptions depend on our conditioning, and judgment on perceptions and beliefs. A person might be known by his or her habits, but I believe these change with the change of habits. But eventually, what matters most are your internal habits – the habits of your mind, and if you’ve the habit of being good or bad; appearances become secondary.

      I regard poor circumstance and being different as not habits. You put it nicely – we’re the result of our soul-life experiences, everybody’s on a different journey, and we need to understand and care for each other. Every individual has the potential to change and evolve, including his or her habits.

      I see you’ve zeroed down on gaining the good habit of “helping people” and losing the bad habit of “procrastination,” which you’ll start from tomorrow… Ah, I know you made it sound ironical but I believe you said you will! :)

      Thanks for this great contribution and discussion. :)

  7. Corinne Rodrigues

    August 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I love the quote of Gandhiji’s, Harleena.

    Funnily the first time I read it was in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Of late more than focusing on giving up ‘bad’ habits, I’m concentrating on picking up good ones. One of the best ones I’ve picked up in recent years is to see the best even in ‘bad’ situations, be grateful for it and see what it is teaching me. It has helped so much to keep my happiness quotient high.

    Thank you for another fantastic article, Harleena.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Glad you liked the post Corinne!

      You’re doing a very wise thing, which is to try pick up a good habit, rather than spend time and efforts dropping the not so good habits. As one of the quotes in the post says, “a nail drives out another nail,” so do good habits cast away bad habits from our lives.

      The habit of seeing “best in worst” is what we talked about in some earlier comments too, and that is one of the best habits to lead a happy life, which you’ve experienced yourself. I too believe in the same, and in what you very correctly say: develop a habit to be grateful to every event, and to find the lesson inherent in that event.

      Thank you for sharing you pearls of “good habits.” :)

  8. Jodi at Heal Now and Forever

    August 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I love how you say habits guide us. This opened my mind for examples and I was flooded. We become what we do. Mindless, we are mindless. Mindful, we are mindful! Awesome!

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      Harleena Singh

      August 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Indeed Jodi. We’re creatures of habit; we’re either guided by bad or good habits. They define our life and destiny. However, there’s a catch. Do not become addicted to your good habits. That becomes an attachment, leading to suffering if that habit is unfulfilled.

      Being “mindful” is the best habit one can learn. Thanks for your contribution! :)

  9. Ilka Flood

    August 26, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Dropping bad habits and replacing them with good habits is something we all should thrive on. It takes between 21 to 30 days to form a habit…good or bad. If you do something repeatedly over an extended amount of time it becomes a habit.

    I’m in the process of starting a new habit…a habit of getting out of bed and the first thing I do is to walk one mile. That’s before breakfast or doing anything else. I tried that once before but quit around day 18. Granted it was during the winter and it was not much fun getting hit in the face by snowflakes. So I want to form that habit before it starts snowing again.

    Another habit I’m forming is replacing bad snacks like chocolate with healthy ones like fruits. So far so good on that one :)

    If you form good habits and are consistent then after a while you don’t want to fall back into bad habits again. Just like if you are feeding your body nutritious food it doesn’t want junk food anymore.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Ilka

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      Harleena Singh

      August 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Glad the post could help you in someway Ilka!

      You’re right about how a habit is formed, and what all it takes. Consistency is very important. What happened with you, happened with me too – I couldn’t complete 21 days of my morning walks, and now I need to make the efforts again. What I’d like to convey is that never lose hope on making a good habit, even if you failed once for some reasons – it is worth retrying.

      If you find dropping your bad habits a difficult task, pick up as many good habits and they’ll take care of the bad ones. You mentioned two habits that you’re focused on: “Walk in morning” and “eating fruits”. I think we should shortlist the good habits that we wish to have and practice them one by one. These will be like assets!

      I wish you success on achieving these habits and all others that would follow! Thank you for contributing your views. :)

  10. Hajra

    August 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

    This is my dad’s favorite lesson for us! He always said that good habits are the secrets of a better life. And we should work to make them happen. I still remember how he always wanted us to get up early in the morning because he wanted us to make a habit out of it. Sadly, I still haven’t bothered with getting up early on weekend!

    But then I have good ones – I am the most punctual person; I always say thank you and I always, always, return a phone call. I know how minute some of these might be; but I try my best to do them.

    Punctuality is another very good lesson my father taught me. I wish more people could do it rather than telling me that they’ll be there in “five minutes” and reach an hour later!

    Good habits make functioning so much easier and simple.

    A very well chosen topic indeed! Have a lovely weekend!

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      Harleena Singh

      August 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Glad you liked the post Hajra!

      I really wanted to focus on habits as there are many who tend to underestimate their power to change us and our lives. People think these are mere school lessons and should be left as that. However, the truth is that habits are life long learning too.

      We do not come to realize the importance of habit when young, and our parents and teachers keep on trying if we would imbibe a few. How hardy their tasks are because especially children have a natural repulsion for good habits. We as adults are no different at times. We use our rational power to defeat the good habits. Your father was right – habits are the secrets of a better life.

      You mentioned two good habits that you’ve – “punctuality” and “reciprocation”. I agree with you, definitely these help to make life smooth and good.

      Thanks for contributing from the lessons of your life. :)

  11. Hiten

    August 26, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Hi Harleena,

    What a fantastic post on another of my favourite topics; namely habits.

    One habit I’ve been developing recently, is trying to be fully in the present moment, for as long as I can during a day. Of course, there are a number of occasions where I may wonder into fantasy about the future, and when this happens, I catch myself doing so and tell myself it is just imagination, and bring myself back into the moment. I find this to be a good habit, as I really cannot control a fantasy story about the future. Trying to do so has the potential to create tension and worry. I can only attend to this particular moment, and I like to remind myself about this.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 26, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Glad you could resonate with the post Hiten!

      You mentioned how one should control a bad habit – by catching yourself doing it, every time, until catching the bad habit becomes your good habit! However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, and there are probably other ways also that assist to get over bad habits.

      Logically, being in the past or even in the future are bad habits, as you do not gain much by them. Taking lessons from the past and planning for the future are good and different aspects. But remaining immersed in the past of future without these objectives is not good. The only logical option left is to be in the present.

      This is a Zen habit, the best habit that doesn’t leave any space or time for other bad habits to creep in you. I wish you all the best in your endeavor.

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful habit. :)

  12. Jens P. Berget

    August 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I have a good habit for being on time and being a person you can depend on no matter what. And I’m open minded, so I always try new things and adjust to new situations. I always try to be very open to what my priorities are, and that my family is at the top.

    My bad habits is probably related to how much candy and pizza I eat :)

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      Harleena Singh

      August 27, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Wonderful good habits that you have, Jens!

      Foremost, I believe giving “priority to family” is what will help the family best. Everybody in the family gains from this one habit.
      The habits of “punctuality”, “dependability”, and “adjustment” are so important for one’s personal growth. Well, when you’ve so many good habits, you deserve having one bad habit, don’t you! After all, a pizza is not all that bad!! :)

      Thanks for your feedback. :)

  13. Jeevan Jacob John

    August 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Interesting thoughts, Harleena!

    I have my own share of good and bad habits – can’t deny that. But, I think the most important point is how to identify a habit as good or bad.

    Some habits of mine are perceived – by us – to be bad, but they are good (or they can be good).

    While others are perceived to be good, when in reality they are bad – it is very subjective, don’t you think?

    What I think of a good habit might be a bad habit to someone else in this world (it’s all because of their experience, culture and observations).

    And of course, even if we manage to identify the bad ones, we do need to take action to change it right (and that is hard. Like you mentioned, easier said than done).

    I think we should have a balance between all these things; we should have both good and bad habits (I also believe that perfect balance is impossible in life, perfection is an impossibility, but the more accurate we are to the balance, the better it is).

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Glad you find the post interesting Jeevan!

      You’re absolutely right when you say that the matter of habits is a subjective issue and also depends on other contexts like culture, community values and experiences etc. However, I can say that there are many habits that can be universalized and accepted by all, as good or bad.

      Generally a habit is good if it helps us progress, be efficient, and if the fruits of the habit deliver happiness. However, if a habit violates basic human values, is demeaning, or harmful to others, it is not good even if subjectively you think it’s good for you.

      Most people fall for this trap and support their bad habits giving this reasoning. The more intelligent the person, the more reasons he or she can find to prove that his or her habits are good and essential – this happens with substance abuse addicts. Identification and conscious acceptance of bad habits are the most difficult and essential steps.

      I agree with you that we all have a share of both good and bad habits, and it is a matter of how you balance them. If your good habits weigh more than the bad ones, you’re called a good person, but if even if you’ve only one bad habit and that outweighs rest all of your good habits, you’re known as a bad person. Sometimes bad habits do help us, more about that some other time!

      Thanks for presenting your views. :)

      • Jeevan Jacob John

        August 30, 2012 at 12:30 am

        In that case, can punishing criminals (when the law didn’t because of their power or status) be considered as a good habit?

        It delivers happiness (to those who suffered) and it is after all “justice” (or is it? Is it justifiable if a person – even if he/she is a victim – to take law on their own hands?).

        But, yes, I do get your point, Harleena :) Good habits help us (well, to define it is hard, right?).

        Balance of course, is the key. Have strong good habits, it is okay to have bad habits, but make them small, try to reduce their effect rather than trying to eliminate them completely (because too much goodness in this world isn’t a great idea. Because you need to know the evils of this world – and to know it, you need to have some “Evil” within you. Do I sound like a mad scientist? :D).

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          Harleena Singh

          August 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

          A case, where people take the law in their own hands occasionally, whenever the situation so demands, does not fall under the purview of habits. But if such practice becomes a regular issue, then it becomes a matter of concern, and is generally not a good habit, as it creates chaos and instability.

          However, the problem of taking the law in own hands is a complex issue that has many other influencing and deciding factors, apart from habits.

          As I stated earlier that if a habit violates basic human values and “laws”, if you will, then it is not good even if subjectively you think it’s good for you.

          I believe not doing injustice and at the same time not letting injustice happen is a good habit. However, justice might not mean “an eye for an eye” – that is a primitive thinking, and happiness thus acquired is sadist in nature.

          Generally, if you’ve a habit that helps you progress to be more positive, efficient, better, successful, and at the same time evolve you as a person and a human being, it is good.

          I’d differ a bit from you and say that eliminating all bad habits is a good thing to do if possible, and that does not in any way make you incapable of facing the evil of the world. Knowing the evil is necessary, but I do not think it is required to have the evil within you in form of bad habits. I think good habit is a significant part of a broader aspect called “goodness”, and we might talk about it in some later post. :)

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it sure led to an interesting discussion. :)

  14. Debbie

    August 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Way to go Harleena.

    Bring habits to our attention is important. We do not realize how they affect our day to day life.

    It is so important that parents stop and think about the habits they maybe teaching their children. If a parent is in the habit of turning on a TV first thing in the morning, they can be creating a problem for their children later down the road.

    For myself I am like you, I have the habit of finding something positive in all situations. There is always a reason and something to learn every day. The best habit we can develope is a postive attitude.

    You are right that when it comes to our habits we have to look at them and consider the people we love. If our bad habits are hurting them it is time to take a good look at them and try to change them. Making the right choices and looking at the full picture can make a world of difference.

    Blessings to you,
    Debbie

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      Harleena Singh

      August 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Glad you liked and resonate with the post Debbie!

      Life is all about making the right choices, and that decides everything, including our habits. I like the way you’ve put it – look at the full picture, and that really can make a world of difference. If you really care for and love others, and if others too reciprocate, you’ll never want to harm them with your habits.

      If one does not intend to hurt but still cannot get rid of one’s habit, then the person needs help. I think family here comes as a boon and a great support system. However, if there’s no family bonding or good values and habits inherent in the family, then the children follow suit and learn the same.

      Parents in a family have to be the role models – that’s a great responsibility that comes with marriage. Even small things you mentioned about like turning on a TV in morning also matters. We can’t blame it all on the parents, but family does play a big role in what habits the children develop when they grow up.

      You’ve a great habit of “being positive” and am sure that makes life easy for you. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. :)

  15. Praveen Rajarao

    August 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Harleena – I have to say that I agree with Dwayne on this…I always put things off by picking the easier ones to complete and be done with. This makes me lose out on my schedules with the other important ones and I get to it so late that I lose out on the significance and importance of the task!!!!

    I really need to work on this “bad” habit and try to change it for the better soon.

    Very nice article with good references and quotes.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Glad you like the post and the quotes Praveen!

      I think it’s very natural and most of us do the same – pick up the easier jobs first. This helps one to get into the flow, and gain some confidence by achieving those targets. However, if you become content with these small achievements and ignore the big tasks, it becomes a nasty habit.

      The good thing is that you know what’s wrong and you accept that, and on top of it, you want to try to change the habit – everything’s in your favor and I am sure you’ll be able to find suitable ways to confront the problem.

      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. :)

  16. Cathy

    August 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Habits do direct our lives don’t they? We learn from others and can be influenced by what we see around us. But as time goes on, we develop our own good or not so good habits. A habit that I have that I like is that I do keep things around the house tidy and don’t like to have it be too messy. A habit I am striving for is to rise earlier. If I could get up a bit earlier, I would have a hour to myself and I feel that I could get more accomplished.

    Thanks for this great post. Have a great week!

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      Harleena Singh

      August 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Glad you like the post Cathy!

      If Stephen Covey’s “7 habits of highly successful people” could sell millions, it shows how important the topic is and good habits must be really making a difference in people’s lives. We chose options and habits according to our state of mind, and conversely, if we practice good habits thoroughly, we may be able to change our state of mind!

      You’ve a great habit of “tidiness” and I notice you imply that a bit of messiness is okay. It means you do not take your habit to the extremes and that is good. As you wish to build a habit of “getting up early”, I on the other hand want a habit of “sleeping early”, as my day starts around 5 in the morning and ends around 11 or even later at night, I wish I could get some extra hours to sleep! :)

      Thanks for sharing your habits. :)

  17. Deone Higgs

    August 28, 2012 at 1:03 am

    A most powerful subject here, Harleena!

    Our habits are our future determinants. A mentor of mine once told me a long time ago, before I started writing, “You can tell a lot about a man (or woman) by what their habits are in life.”

    Our habits requires our focus and attention to be placed in the direction of them. And there are endless amounts of quotes, books, speeches and so on, which clearly states what happens when we place our focus on something… it becomes our reality.

    While I have certainly had some bad habits in my life time, these days I try to focus more on the good ones I’ve acquired. Things like being dedicated to growing my website, finishing my book, gardening, reading more books, and taking the time to listen to what the Universe is trying to say to me through my life.

    Like you and others have stated, I also have become addicted to looking for the good and positive. I’ve become addicted to saying “Thank You” more (to others and to the Creator).

    I desire to make getting wisdom and understanding my most prized of habits. I believe that with the two, life will ensure that my needs are met, and it might just offer some of those wants, as well. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the improvements I’ve made in the practicing of my daily habits.

    BTW, as you know I love the quotes you share here… today, I think Steven King’s was my favorite. Thanks for sharing it. :)

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Glad you like the subject of the post and the quotes Deone!

      Your mentor had been absolutely correct! Our life is the cumulative result of the things we practice everyday. And you’re definitely right about the importance of focus in achieving our goals.

      Habits are not the end in themselves, but the means to a happy life. And though the quotes and books help, you eventually have to work to implement the good habits in life.

      Who hasn’t got any bad habits? You give a great tip that we can try our best to focus on the good ones! Among your many good habits that you try to focus on, I like this most: “listening to the Universe”. It’s so important we learn to take cues from the events in our lives, as nothing in the Universe is meaningless.

      Being “grateful”, “thankful”, and an “optimist” fill one’s life with hope and happiness. To be “wise” and “understanding” helps you simplify life’s seemingly complexity. With these two good habits the chaos of desires may subside and your needs may also lessen!

      Given a choice, you opted to be the master of good habits rather than be a slave of bad habits. That’s highly commendable and incredible indeed!

      Thank you for sharing your preferences and insights about good habits. :)

  18. Mary Stephenson

    August 28, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Hi Harleena

    My good habit is always being on time. Hate it when people keep me waiting…it’s as if their time is more valuable than mine. At least my husband and I feel the same way. His family was always late and mine was not. Actually my dad was always concerned about being on time. We lived on an island and had to catch the ferry to get off. One day my dad and one of my brothers were going off the island and he wanted to leave at a certain time so to make the ferry before it became too full to take their car. So as they see the ferry pulling out, just rounding the dock, my brother said, “Dad, I think we are a little too early.” That was the ferry before the one they were going to catch and still had to go across and comeback. (1 hour and 15 minutes to go!)

    My worst habit is to worry too much about things…things that may never happen. But I am working on that and just trying to take one day at a time.

    Great post…and yes you do have a bad habit of very long posts. lol

    Mary

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      Harleena Singh

      August 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Welcome to the blog and glad you liked the post Mary!

      I guess reading my long posts might be bad for those in crunch of time, but my intentions are good and I’m sure they help people in some ways who relate themselves to the subject. In any case, I’ve plans to start short posts too on my blog, so you’ll soon have a variety to choose from! :)

      “Keeping time” is a very good habit that you’ve; however, as I said to others too, we should never take our habits to extremes. If one gets too disturbed by one’s own habit, whether good or bad, it’s a sign that you need to modify it. Obsessions are fine as far as they do not affect the other aspects of our life and do not trouble others too.

      You overcame a big hurdle and that is identifying your bad habit, and accepting that it troubles you. I’m sure you’ve a plan to counter that with a good habit like “being positive” or “being in the moment” or any other of your choice. You got a good strategy of tackling it day by day.

      Thanks for sharing your life experiences and habits. :)

  19. Adrienne

    August 29, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Hi Harleena,

    As we all know, our thoughts create our lives. So with that being said, our thoughts can continue to be good or bad. To me, that’s how a lot of habits are formed as well.

    Take for instance smoking. If your parents smoked or your friends smoke then normally your thought patterns would think that it’s okay. A new habit if formed and you only realize later in life that it’s very unhealthy. You have to make that conscious decision to change not only your thinking but that nasty habit as well.

    Bad habits can lead to a unhealthy lifestyle so all that you mentioned above as to why we need good habits in our lives is so true. Like anything else, we create our lives so it’s up to us to decide which direction we want to go. I chose good habits over bad any day of the week. Thank goodness I’ve never really had any bad habits. ;-)

    ~Adrienne

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 29, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Glad to have your contribution to the post Adrienne!

      You’re so correct about our thoughts being the seed of our habits. Our lives depend on the nature and pattern of our thinking, or the habits. This makes us clearly understand the popular saying – change your thoughts and change your life.

      The most difficult thing is to make and implement conscious decisions. As I wrote in an earlier comment, even the most intelligent people sometimes fail to do that. Talking of smoking, I’ve seen many doctors also do that, and they’d have their justification for doing that. The dilemma of free will is that it is so confusing and difficult to choose from what you want to do and what you should do.

      There you said it, and very rightly too – the choices we make decides our life. Bad habits lead to unhealthy lifestyle, good habits lead to a healthy and happy life. That doesn’t leave any doubt as to why we should have good habits in our lives.

      Thank you for your valuable insights and thoughts. :)

  20. Galen Pearl

    August 29, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I don’t have much to add to the excellent comments above, but I am reading a book now titled The Power of Habit. It talks a lot about just what you are saying here. You might like the book.

    On another note, I love the comments you get on your blog. You offer something that clearly inspires people to leave thoughtful comments that add to the discussion. That’s great.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 29, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Glad you resonate with the post Galen!

      I guess you’re referring to the book by Charles Duhigg. I too got to know about it recently, and it sure is in my to-do list.

      I totally agree with you about the wonderful comments that people leave at the blog. Readers and contributors of my blog ARE simply great and I love the way they involve themselves in the discussions. Their thoughts and ideas add so much value to the post, and I’m grateful to them for helping me in my endeavor to create awareness about the forgotten or neglected things in life.

      Thank you for your appreciation and goodwill. It always is a pleasure to have you over. :)

  21. Aditya

    August 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    A habit is something which tells everything about a person.It all depends on the surroundings a person is living in.A person having lots of bad habits doesn’t mean that he has nothing good in him.

    A single good habit sometimes is the key to all the happiness he deserves and it can overcome all his bad habits he/she is known for.One just have to be on the right path to follow his beliefs.

    Your post provides a lot of amazing points and one can overcome his bad habits to make sure his life is worth it.

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      Harleena Singh

      August 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Welcome to the blog Aditya!

      I’m glad you like the post and find it useful.

      You’re right; a habit is like a T-shirt with a slogan that defines the person who wears it around.

      I’d add that it’s not only the external factors and cues that matter, but the internal factors like desires, thoughts also force a person to develop habits. The one good habit theory is difficult but possible with, as you suggest the right path and right belief.

      Every individual has the capability to transform at any moment, including his or her habits. Good habits are worth to be included in anyone’s life.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

      • Aditya

        August 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        Hi Harleena,

        Internal and External factors are both different things.The way a person thinks cannot be seen by others. They just look at a person and then based on his/her external factors judge him/her. Just like wearing a t-shirt with a good or bad habit doesn’t mean that he is what he looks. Sometimes people themselves make an image in their mind about a person.

        Thanks for your valuable thoughts. And I must admit that you have a thorough knowledge about relationships.

        • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

          Harleena Singh

          September 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

          That’s right – since they’re different things, internal as well as external factors both play a role in formation of our habits. And of course, you’re correct there that you cannot just go by the face value of anything, and in case of humans, looks can be very deceptive.

          Thanks and have a great weekend.

  22. Robert Koenig

    August 30, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Wow, such a timely post. A habit I’ve been trying really hard to overcome is impatience. I’m all about proficiency and time-management that when it comes time to wait for something, I don’t know what to do with myself.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      August 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Welcome to the blog Robert!

      I’m glad you find the post handy and useful. You’ve the habits of “proficiency” and “time-management”, which are in fact very good, something that I too vie to possess.

      I’m sure with practice and understanding you’d overcome your not so helpful habit of “becoming impatient”. One thing you can try that comes to my mind is meditation, which sure helped me to calm myself down and develop the habit of being patient.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and habits. :)

      • Robert Koenig

        August 31, 2012 at 3:37 am

        Well, my wife has been bugging me to give yoga a try but the thought just does not sit well with me! Maybe I should give one session a try soon and see how it goes from there…

        • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

          Harleena Singh

          September 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

          Yoga is a great mind-body discipline, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. However, I feel you should think of trying it for more than one session to see if you benefit from it. Have a great grand weekend. :)

  23. Terry Conti

    August 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Something has got to click in your mind in order to achieve a good habit and break a bad one. It’s got to make sense to you or nothing is going to change. It must come from within to change not just because every one says so.

    Not only do good habits change your life for the better they will give you a good sense of pride and being. I’ve got to say being on the road to bettering your self will give you such a great good feeling about yourself that words can not explain.

    I believe bad habits must always be dealt with to the best of your ability till you conquer them or else they will (depending on the severity) take you down and everyone else around you. No one is going to want to be near you.

    Just like getting into the habit of positive thinking, good habits all tie into a positive life. I’m not trying to make it all sound easy but it’s a great way to act and think because it all leads to goodness for yourself and others. Great post Harleena,

    Terry Conti

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      September 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Glad you like the post Terry!

      You’re absolutely right. There has to be some strong motivation for a bad habit addict to take a strong step to break it. Otherwise that is what takes time to happen, unless there are some shocks of jolts in life, or, as you say, a sudden realization from within.

      I totally agree with you on what you say about the habits. And bad habits need to be quashed as early as possible.

      Adopting good habits is the way to go, it’s proven and it’s effective. And it all starts, as you mention, with positive thoughts and a strong desire to change for better. Good things in life do not come easy, and so are the good habits, but when you’ve them, you reap the sweet rewards for the rest of your life.

      Thanks for your wonderful thoughts and opinions. :)

  24. Mitch Mitchell

    September 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Wonderful post Harleena. Of course, now we talk about some reality. lol

    Yes, one good habit can change a lot of things. Can one good habit change everything? Well, it probably could but it almost never does. Each of us are predisposed to something that’s just going to be bad for us. For me, it’s sweets; I love my desserts and such. So, I can change my habits to make more money, to feel better, to grow as a person, but if something’s bringing me actual pleasure I might talk about giving it up if in some way it’s bad for me, but I probably won’t. Because, in the long run, if you’re not doing that thing that’s making you happy, what’s the point?

    Of course, balance comes into play, and if there’s a way to parlay a new good habit into something that offsets your bad habit, if you will, and even allows you to reduce your bad habit just a little bit, then in my eyes any improvement is a good thing.

    You made me think; thank you.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      September 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

      I’m glad you find the post thoughtful and interesting!

      We need to face the facts at times and synchronize ourselves with the ideal life that we should be living. One good habit theory is difficult, but is worth trying, as it will end up doing some good.

      You’re right, probably we all stick to at least one sweet bad habit that we may identify as our reward for having all the other good habits, or associate it with our right to freewill. But this could be risky and one needs to be very careful, as this can turn out to be a trap hole for some and take them on the wrong track.

      If you get addicted to something that you know is bad just because it gives you pleasure, in the long run you might come to regard it as good for you, and ignore the damage or harm it does to you or others.

      Bad habits are irrational in nature, and they have the power to force you to rationalize them using your reasoning. But as you say, as far as one is able to keep a balance and keep things are in control and moderation, there are no issues.

      I agree that substituting good habit for bad habits is really the way to go. However, most people get stuck on the question “is the habit too bad to let it go even if it is making me happy?” And the answer would be very subjective.

      Mitch, you made me think deep. Thanks for making it an interesting discussion. :)

  25. kevin

    September 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I don’t think that one good habit can negate several bad habits by any means, if anything they offset each other. I myself have a bad habit of being super focused, so much so that sometimes I don’t even realize my phone is ringing if I’m working or reading a book etc.

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      September 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Well, I’d say the habit of ‘changing your thoughts’ can really help you dislodge most of other bad habits. Adopt the middle path and do not go to extremes, is what Buddha suggested, and I reiterate. On the contrary Kevin, the ability of being able to super focus can turn into a good habit if you keep the phone switched off! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  26. Vidya Sury

    September 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Such a thoughtful post, Harleena!

    Habits are such interesting things. We take a certain amount of time and effort to develop a good habit, while a “bad” habit develops us instantly! It is all about allowing ourselves to get pulled in. We are better off adding the good things that make us happy in life.

    I enjoyed the comments here. :-) Love, Vidya

    • Profile photo of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      September 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Glad you like the post, Vidya!

      You’re so correct in your observation – you do not have to make much effort to develop a bad habit! Yes, it depends on our state of mind, perception, and attitude – if we’ve strong and good thoughts, we’ll be better off with good habits – and happy too!

      I agree – my blog readers, including you, make the posts worthier with their comments. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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