Every once in a while I realize that I haven’t cleaned up my habits recently. I know I should be always working on refining and editing my habits, but I don’t know how realistic that is. We call them habits after all, they come naturally, we do them without thinking.
It’s also why they are hard to change, not that I’m telling you anything new. Bad habits die hard, they are something you really have to fight with. It takes a long time to establish new habits. I know they say 21 days, but lets be real, some habits are easier to form than others. It’s not all simple math.
It’s hard work, which is why we aren’t working on them all the time, we have other problems to deal with, life takes over. Self refinement can wait.
Until it can’t. Until we have a rude awakening. Then we get back to it trying to edit and chip away at our bad habits while we lay ground work for new ones.
Well I’m back with my rude awakening. My pants are tight, my diet has been terrible lately. I’m snacking on anything that’s not nailed down. I need to be eating better and less. I need to be taking better care of my body. I need to be getting more exercise.
When you have one of these rude awakenings it often doesn’t end there. You think “oh I need to fix my diet” but then you realize that you need to exercise, but then you realize that you need to fix your posture from working at a desk because it’s leading to back aches when you work out. Then out of nowhere you realize that you’ve abandoned a hobby that you need to pick back up and stop spending time in front of the T.V.
I say its out of nowhere, because it seems to be, but really it’s not. Once you start working on improving yourself you start to see things that you need to improve everywhere. It can be a bit disheartening, but it doesn’t need to be. Finding things to improve means you’re growing and a lot of people don’t put enough effort into growth. It’s not that other people don’t have as many things to improve, it’s just that they’re not doing them. You’re already on top of the game just by seeing these flaws, these bad habits to fix.
In fact it’s easy to say that self improvement is one of the most important things you can do. Some might argue, after all God tells you to put others first. And He’s right (I mean, always) but correcting our bad habits normally helps others. Our bad habits negatively effect others. Our reckless spending means we have less to give. Our greed pushes other people out of the way. Maybe your posture doesn’t help anyone, but this chain of adding good habits and getting rid of bad one’s isn’t just self serving, and if you think it is? Add in a few good habits just for others. Actually, do that anyway. Do it even if you don’t think it’s needed. You’ll be better for it.
But back to the chain reaction of refining your habits.
It doesn’t have to be triggered by a rude awakening, though it most often is. It can simply start with a thought. It can start by reading this blog post. Take some time and write down one bad habit that you need to correct, it doesn’t have to be the biggest one. Write it down and focus on changing it for a few days, then after a week or so add something else to the list. I think there is a lot of harm in trying to add to many things to the list at once. After all, we’re human, we get overwhelmed, and nothing is more overwhelming then self-improvement.
You’ll find that the next habit you want to get rid of or add comes easily. You jump started a chain reaction. Now you have something to work on consistently. It’s okay if it gets pushed aside. Life happens to all of us and sometimes it needs our full attention, just come back to your habits when things settle down. Soon things will disappear of your list because they no longer need to be on it.
It’s progress, and it’s glorious.