More on Habits

I came across a great post on SuccessMinders on the power of a habit:

We all have habits, but do you ever stop and really pay attention to how strong those habits can be?

This morning I woke up, drug myself out of bed and climbed into the shower – a normal start to the day. After showering I dried off and prepared to brush my teeth and take care of my hair.

I use a product in my hair that’s a cross between a gel and a pomade. Normally I take off my wedding ring before using it; if I don’t, I’ll get some of this goop in the grooves of my ring, and between my skin and the ring and it will end up being sticky all day long. It’s a pain to get it washed off, so I just avoid the problem by taking my ring off.

I’ve been doing this everyday for the last three years. When you do anything everyday for three years – whether it’s good or bad for you – you better believe it will become a habit.

I wear my watch – a water resistant, stainless-steel number – on my left hand too, and it never comes off when I swim or shower. Last night my hand was hurting a little so I had taken my ring off. I didn’t have it on this morning when I showered, but I was wearing my watch.

After getting out of the shower this morning I reached for my ring (automatically) and my mind, realizing it wasn’t there, didn’t miss a beat and unbuckled the clasp on my watch and removed it. I wasn’t even aware of what I had done until after I was running my hands through my hair and I looked down and saw my watch laying next to the sink!

The habit of removing my ring from my left hand is so strong that in lieu of taking off my ring, my brain had to remove something. As I said, I was literally not aware of it until I looked down and saw my watch, laying there.

If this habit – one that’s seemingly insignificant – is that powerful, how much am I a slave – sometimes not even realizing it – to my other habits…habits I’ve had longer than just three years? How much are you a slave to your habits?

I think this is a powerful illustration of how much we let our daily lives be driven by our habits. If we have good, positive habits or we have poor, negative habits – we’re going to act them out.

This is why it’s so important to be mindful of the habits and patterns we repeat over and over to make sure we can catch those negative habits and create a plan to replace them with positive ones!

Thanks for the great advice!

On a related note, I’m trying to get a friend of mine, Chris Chadwick to start guest blogging on the topic of habits. Chris, who is still in University, runs an scholastic achievement coaching business that works with motivated High School (noone under a 3.5!) students, helping them to create fantastic study habits that will be an asset to them while they’re in University and after they finish school. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of his insights into habit setting on this blog in the near future.

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