Living your best life depends on your ability to break bad habits and replace them with good habits. The key to changing habits is to understand how they form, how they are reinforced, and to recognize opportunities to alter them as those opportunities present themselves.
We are creatures of habit and ritual. Our daily routines, activities, and even our states of mind are the manifestations of behaviors we have nurtured. It is very clear that smoking is a habit, but less clear that not smoking is also a habit – of choosing not to do something that is harmful for your body. About once a month I take time to audit my routines and acknowledge what is serving me well and what I can work on changing to create a better life for myself.
Even personality traits and tendencies we have that seem to just be ‘who we are” are actually just habits. Any behavior we repeat consistently gets hard-wired in our brain and thus becomes habitual and easier to repeat again. If I get frustrated every time my kids aren’t cooperating with getting ready for school, that emotion is habitual, and it can be changed. I can choose to practice conscious parenting instead, and the morning routine will become a different experience.
I write a fair bit about creating healthy habits because they provide a wonderful opportunity for personal growth. Examining your daily behavior allows you to take a look at yourself piece by piece. Doing things that are life changing can seem like a monumental task, but every huge undertaking becomes easier when broken down into smaller parts. The choices we make every day are are powerful part of creating the life we desire. By looking at which habits are serving you and which ones are harming your progress, you find manageable places to intervene and create positive change.