“Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.” – Carlos Santana
I can’t tell you how true the above statement is. If there’s 1 lesson life has taught me it’s habits can either make you or break you.
Every time I wanted to do something I truly cared about in my life, I’d back down.
Whenever a risk was staring me in the face, even If taking the risk would have meant benefiting me, I backed down.
I’d shrivel up and cocoon myself from the things I knew I should have done. And worst of all, let people’s opinions cloud my judgement and my actions.
That was once a bad habit of mine. And that habit, had I not broken it would have surely broken me by now.
The longer you operate out of habit, the harder it is to break the habit.
That’s why smokers who want to quit smoking struggle to ever make the transition.
Or why criminals who have been brought up around criminals struggle to give up the criminal lifestyle.
Or why teenage girls struggle with their own self confidence, because they’ve made a habit of putting themselves down.
Making a transition
For me I eventually got sick of not doing the things I’ve always wanted to do, and decided to take responsibility.
I decided to grow a back bone, grow some “balls” and do the things I was so afraid to do.
One of the things I was afraid to do put myself out there online. And when I say put myself out there, I don’t mean post a simple Facebook or Twitter update.
I mean share personal experiences, setbacks or lessons life has taught me, like how I struggled with self confidence due to high school bullying.
Blogging has helped me a lot with that and I’v grown a LOT from it.
But back to the topic of habits.
What habits are making or breaking you?
You probably don’t realize it because hey, everyday we’re all operating on habits without realizing it. For example –
- Pushing people away from you when they try to help you is a habit that is bound to not just break YOU, but those around you who care about you.
- Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.
- Taking your anger out on people who don’t deserve it.
- Blaming others for the problems you’re experiencing.
- Settling for LESS because it’s easier than striving for MORE.
- Eating unhealthy food only to feel guilty about it afterwards.
One or more of these or any other habits are bound to BREAK you somewhere down the line.
The longer you keep it up, the harder it’s going to get, and the more painful it’s going to be for you.
The only way to change this is to be conscious of it, acknowledge your actions and monitor your thoughts.
Thought leads to action, so you need to think before you act. A simple exercise you can try is this:
- Write down your bad habits.
- Write down your good habits.
- Compare the amount of bad habits you have to the good habits you’ve got.
- Then take the actions necessary to make those changes come true.
It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be a walk in the park and it’s NOT going to be water off a ducks back.
But with enough commitment for long periods of time, you’ll be able to replace the bad habits with better habits.
It takes a lot of practice to get it right. It’s a game of conditioning and improving your mindset as well as your actions.
I’m using the exact same exercise to kick-start the week and make the necessary adjustments to build better habits for myself.
One habit I’m committing to is writing down what I intend to BE everyday and following that up with actions that match it. Rather than focusing on what I’m going to DO everyday.
When you focus on BEING you end up DOING the right things.
But when you focus on doing it doesn’t work. It’s an inside job. That being said, I’ll finish this up with a quote from Madonna.
No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.” ― Madonna