March 6, 2008.
"Nothing is stronger than habit."
It's been said that bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Never were truer words ever spoken. No matter how hard each of us tries, we're all prone to developing some bad habits on occasion; some worse than others. And making those bad habits disappear is by no means an easy trick.
That's not to say all habits are bad. In fact, there are many habits that strengthen us in so many ways. Positive habits form the foundation of every truly successful person. Good habits help us grow as individuals, immeasurably improving our performance and enhancing virtually every facet of our lives. But bad habits are, well... they're just bad to the bone. And they need to go.
"Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time."
So how do we go about getting rid of those pesky, rotten habits we've acquired over time? How do we unshackle ourselves from self-defeating habits such as procrastination, indecisiveness, laziness or the endless list of other bad habits that have weaved their way into our lives?
Can we actually let go of our bad habits while still managing to hang on to the good habits we want to keep? Yes, we can, but we must first clearly delineate those habits we want to cultivate from the ones we want to eliminate altogether. Further, we should detail any new habits would we like to acquire. Then and only then are we ready to begin implementing the 'tricks of the trade.'
"A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit."
It's very difficult for most folks to drop a habit cold turkey. In fact, some find the task far too daunting to even try. After all, every bad habit they have has been put in place by their previous action - or lack of action. And once a bad habit becomes firmly entrenched, it is doubly difficult to get rid of. It has to be driven out by concerted, consistent effort. So what's the answer?
One of the best ways to purge a bad habit from our system is to replace it with a much more positive, productive routine. As we steadily incorporate the good habit into our everyday practice, we gradually change our behavior. Then, over time, the good habit eventually takes over, becoming permanently ingrained within our behavioral pattern.
And what becomes of the bad habit it replaced? It's gone for good.
"Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as are bad habits."
Come on now, is it really that simple? Yes, it is. Substituting a good habit for a bad one is a relatively simple concept, but not an easy process to implement; not easy at all. It takes work and a whole lot of focused, gritty, stick-to-it determination to complete the switch.
While we would all prefer to wave a magic wand and have our bad habits instantly vanish into thin air, life just doesn't work that way. We have to roll up our sleeves and get to work if we truly want to create lasting change in our lives.
Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do." Good, bad or somewhere in between, our daily activities in large measure dictate the level of success we attain in our lifetimes. A person who consistently exhibits a number of good habits invariably out produces and out performs those who harbor an overabundance of bad habits.
If you're looking for positive results (and who isn't?), you must develop positive habits; strong, healthy, powerful habits that move you in the direction of your goals, dreams and aspirations. By constantly accenting the positive, regularly replacing your bad habits with better habits, you begin to experience a dramatic improvement in virtually everything you say, think or do.
Best of all, your bad habits will have disappeared, long gone forever.
The Bottom Line: If we fail to form the habits we want, then the habits we don't will most certainly form us.
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