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We have spent the past few weeks discussing where habits come from and how they are formed.
Today I invite you to take stock of yourself and begin the process of identifying and recording your own habits.
There are, of course, the obvious ones – brushing our teeth – and the somewhat less obvious ones – our eating habits. Do you hold the knife in the left hand for right one, do you hold this fork in the stab, scoop or shovel position?
Which hand do you use to hold a cup, glass or bottle when taking a drink?
What about how you dress yourself? Which leg goes in the pants first which arm goes first into the sleeve?
Do you use your left or right hand to button up your shirt?
How do you unlock your car? Do you always hold the keys or remote in the left or right hand? Do you put your seatbelt on before or after you start the engine?
Do you wear a watch? Is it on your left or right wrist?
Do you always sit in the same place at the dinner table? Perhaps, the same chair or couch in your living room or den?
What time did you go to bed last night? Was it the same time as the night before and the one before that?
Now that I have your attention, let’s examine some of the more subtle, yet more revealing habits.
What do you do when you get angry? Huh? What’s that got to do with habits?
Everything! That feeling of anger has nothing to do with the person who cuts you off in traffic. Nor has it anything to do with your idiot co-worker who gets on your nerves just because…
And you can’t even point a finger of blame at the clerk in the store who was rude to you or your inconsiderate neighbor who never picks up his dog’s poop from your lawn.
Of course, we have trained ourselves to believe that these events are the cause of our anger, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
In order to feel anger, we must do certain things in our minds and in our bodies and we have taught ourselves, through repetition, how to do these things.
So, that anger is really the result of yet another of our many, many habits. As is stress, frustration, joy and delight.
These are some of our default habits that we instantly engage when certain triggers present themselves.
Keep building a list and you will surprise yourself at how many you have acquired over the course of your life.
Almost all results in the lives come from those things we do repeatedly. Many of them bring great value, while others can drive us to distraction.
When we have mastered our habits, we have mastered our lives. Please keep building up a tally and when you think you’ve captured them all, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your final score.
I’ll bet you’ll be surprised to discover that number is more than 50.
We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. To that end, recognizing our habits is the first step in identifying and acknowledging those behaviours that are taking away from our enjoyment of life. Once we have them identified them, we can begin the process of replacing those that no longer serve us with energizing and uplifting ones.
I know this is true because I’ve gone through this exercise hundreds of times with clients and the results never cease to amaze me.
If we are our habits, does it not make perfect sense to learn all there is to know about adopting the very best ones for ourselves.
And I can help.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.