Life Coach Magazine

Creatures Of Habit

By Rusty @russellpurkiss

“A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.” –Frank Howard Clark

Creatures Of Habit
It is really amazing how so little can get done if you just don’t put your mind to it!  Ha!  We are creatures of habit by nature and are pretty much content to keep going the way we always have, simply because it is the easy way!  As water seeks the lowest level, so are we inclined to follow that road because “that is the way it has always been done”! It’s also the easy way out.

Something funny (but at the same time totally ridiculous) that carried on for some time in my home was about the light in the upstairs bathroom.  There are two lights, one you can turn on at the entrance to the bathroom and the other near the mirror in front of the shower. The one that you could easily turn on at the entrance had a short in the ceiling that needed repair and for one reason or the other the job just didn’t get done for a few months! At night you had to slowly creep in touching and feeling the wall to avoid stubbing your toe on the step that there is in the bathroom in order to reach the switch to turn the light on.  Well, finally we got the light fixed, however the feely touchy creeping into the bathroom has continued on now for over a week since we have gotten used to the old way!

The funny thing about this is, as humans we are willing to go the long way around something just because “that is the way we have done it”.  That is how habits are borne.  It has been said that if you are able to do something consecutively for determined amount of time, I believe it is for about 90 days, it then becomes a habit.  Just like kicking a habit, you have to determine to do something over a period of time, stick to it and then you can either make it a habit or break the habit.  Like kicking the habit of smoking, you don’t just say, “tomorrow I am going to quit smoking”, and expect it to come naturally, it will initially take a great effort on your part to literally force yourself to stop, until it has become a natural thing NOT to smoke.

Building or breaking habits takes concentration, you have to be determined to change, put your mind to it and work at it. Otherwise you become like the “chained eagle”.  There was once a story told me of the chained eagle who was a pet to someone years ago.  In order for it to stay put, the owner had placed a chain on one if its legs and the other end on a pole.  It passed its day walking around and around the pole, so much so that it had worn a groove around the pole.  One day the owner felt bad about having confined the bird in this way and so he decided that it was time to set it free and let it fly.  He then cut the chain off the leg of the poor fowl and said his goodbyes and launched the eagle towards the sky.  To his surprise, after having circled the property the eagle came right back down again in the same courtyard, walked over to the pole, and began once again to walk a circle around the same pole!

We have great power within us to start on new and wonderful paths, and even to form some good habits, turning some bad ones even to good ones.  But in order to do so, we have to work at it in order for it to become a part of us. If not, we will simple go right back to the way things have always been!

How have you been successful in turning a bad habit into a good habit?  Are you stuck in your ways, or do you fight that lethargy to move on from good to better and from better to best?

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