Psychologists say that 90 % of our actions are a habit. Consider the action of walking. I had never thought about the complexity of walking, until I seriously injured my knee last year, and had to learn to walk again after spending almost 10 weeks in a splint.
It all starts with putting your foot forward, just the right amount, with your heel on the floor, in just the right place. Then you have to transfer weight onto that foot, maintaining just the right amount of tension in your thigh muscles so that your knee doesn’t collapse, but without locking your knee straight. As your weight moves forward, you roll onto the ball of your foot, and your knee locks briefly, as you swing your other foot through to repeat the process. It becomes even more complicated when you add a walking frame or stick into the mix, and on top of all that, you have to concentrate on where you are going! It’s surprisingly complex, but it’s something we do, usually by force of habit, every day.
So, our good habits, such as regular exercise, drinking enough water, brushing our teeth, courtesy etc, serve us well, by allowing us to routinely do these things without thinking about them. This clears our mind to enable us to think about other things, and also promotes our health, wellbeing and success.
But what about our bad habits? We also do these things routinely without thinking about them, but they do not serve us well. Worse still, we are sometimes not even aware of the negative effects these habits have on our lives. Consider the effect that habits such as negativity, rudeness, substance abuse, over eating, laziness and procrastination have on our lives and those around us.
“We are what we repeatedly do. excellence then is not an act, but a habit”, Aristotle.
The more conscious we become of our good and bad habits, the more control we can have over those habits, and thus, the more control we can have over our lives.
One of my worst habits is negative self-talk – “I’m not good enough”, “it’s too hard”, “that won’t work”, “I’ll do it tomorrow” etc. As I have become more conscious of this habit during my personal growth journey, I am working on taking control of it, and changing it into a good habit of positive self-talk – “I am good enough”, “it’s not too hard”, “I don’t know whether that will work, but let’s give it a go. If it doesn’t work, I can try something else” “I’m putting a reminder in my phone now”, etc. Just working on this one habit is having a profound effect on my life!
What habits are holding you hostage? are you even aware of your good and bad habits and how they affect you? What habits would you like to cultivate to get you closer to achieving your dreams? Please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.