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Jun 06

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We Are Creatures of Habit!

build good habits motivational concept – text in vintage letterpress wood type with a cup of tea

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristole

We are creatures of habit.  Almost everything we do, we do out of habit.  Think about it, we drive the same route to and from work, eat  basically the same food for breakfast, wear the same clothes over and over, despite the  fact that our closets overflow with clothes.   Have you driven home and not remembered the route you drove to get there? Your mind was not in an altered state, you weren’t sleep deprived, you were operating on auto pilot.  You’ve driver this route so many times that it is now a habit and is etched in your subconscious.  Or what about, have you rented a car, or driven someone else’s care, parked it, come back to the car and can’t find it because you’re looking for your car not the other car?  Well that happened to me recently. I was on a business trip in Disney World, Orlando, Florida, picked up the rental car, checked into the hotel and settled in.  The next day I headed out. When I returned to my car, it took me the longest to find it because I was looking for my car, not the loaner car. After serval minutes, I realized that my car was not there, that I had a rental car.  This didn’t happen once, it happened a few more times during the trip. This demonstrates my point about moving, working and doing things out of habit. Doing the same thing day in and day out, we create a pattern that causes us not to engage mentally and figure out what or how to do something.  We just do it.   Habits are formed by doing the same thing enough times that it becomes second nature and you don’t have to give it much thought.

Acting out of habit is not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, good habits are great.  We should all want more good habits in our life than bad habits.  How can we develop more good habits?  In order to develop good habits, first we must set intentions to build them then we have to be determined and steadfast in implementing the behavior that will create good habits.  Easier said than done.  We usually fail at building good habits because most of us go “all or nothing”, and because this strategy is so drastic and huge, we become overwhelmed and give up; or we become distracted, fall off the trail  and resort back to our old/bad habits.   To help break this cycle and build good, long lasting habits,  write out your “big picture”.  Know specifically what and where you want to go in life.  When you know this, you can set mini goals to help reach the end result. Take time daily to check in with yourself, to set the intentions needed to create the behavior to accomplish the  mini goal or task not focusing on how long it will take to reach the end or “big picture.”  No matter the distance, it still takes one step at a time.  Building small consistent successes builds motivation and confidence.  It builds upon itself.  This may seem simple and small, but it is one of the best things you can do to build good habits.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.familymatterskc.org/we-are-creatures-of-habit/

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