We live and we learn. Somewhere along the way we form habitual paths. We are a system of daily routines and unvarying ways. some are more crucial and some are less concerning. Some are subconscious and some are more outwardly.
I have seen people try to quit smoking by changing their brand. I have seen people switch the hand they hold their cigarette with to break their habit and lose their usual fluid motion.
It is said that nothing changes of nothing changes, which means even the slightest change can perpetuate the ultimate change.
This idea goes back much further than me. Isaac Newton broke this down in his first law of motion.
“An object at rest will remain at rest and an object in motion will remain in motion at the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
Our habits work the same way.
We all have our daily routine. We place our items in the same place every day. We depend on these routines. We know them so well that our body can carry out basic chores without any input from the brain.
To break simple habits can be odd. This can be uncomfortable. Same as it would be for a smoker to smoke with their opposite hand and the same as it would be for a righty to write with their left hand, a change of habits can be foreign and uncomfortable.
This can seem unfulfilling and too challenging. Often, when the habits are more intense, the habit themselves can be traumatic or impactful upon our lives.
Our habits can influence our work life and our home life. Habits can make a difference in our perception, which allows us to empower the ideas between obstacle and opportunity
Newton also talked about the laws of gravity. He also mentions for every action, there is an equal reaction.
This is the world we live in. I agree. There is gravity. Things have weight. Sometimes life can weigh too much, which is why we form habits.
Everything we do is done for a reason. We behave in response, which means all behaviors are done in honor of something; whether the reason is physical, emotional, or situational, everything we do is done to honor a thought, a feeling, or an emotion.
We come up with ways to counteract the weight of our own gravity. We find things to achieve a sense of balance. But how can anyone achieve balance when life is too heavy? How does one overcome the force of movement without an unbalanced change?
What has to happen?
Do we need to suffer in order to change?
Do we need to lose?
Do we meed to feel pain?
What has to happen to stop the cycles of the habits we form based upon trauma?
More accurately, what unbalanced force would cause us to change our direction and speed?
Addiction is being enslaved to a habit. Addiction is to be enslaved so much so that the practice is psychologically and physically habit forming to the extent that the thought or the idea to go without it is unthinkable. This means to live any other way is unthinkable. Even if we “Know” we can do it, we still fumble. We trip and we fall. But why?
Even if we know how to break the habits; even if we are given instruction, the oddness of living without our habits is so foreign (or uncomfortable and boring) that we cannot see or contemplate a life of any other direction.
Somewhere int he mind is the idea:
“This is just me.”
“This is just who I am.”
Or, one could argue this is only programmed. One could argue this is how we are programmed to be.
The gravity of physical weight is always equal to the gravity of physical weight; however, the gravity of emotion takes on a much different law.
Emotions like happiness and joy come with an lighthearted or elated feeling. This can be weightless and free. However, the complete opposite acts as the polar opposite.
Feelings like anger, guilt, fear, or pain come with their own weights and measure. Physically speaking, the weight of an item can weigh a pound; however, the weight of the unknown can be unthinkable. The idea of bearing that weight causes the need to find balance.
The idea of this can be threatening, which is why we are quicker to react to the heavier emotions. This is why people find it easier to count their faults instead of their assets.
No one is ever afraid to feel good. More accurately, it’s not the fear of success or the fear of feeling good; it’s the fear of what happens if the feeling goes away. What do we do when the lightheartedness stops an the world becomes heavy again..
Sometimes we choose a quick fix because we have the need or want to feel balanced or soothed. Unfortunately, the quick fix is usually fleeting and short lived.
The quick fix never seems to keep us balanced for long; therefore, we have to run back and forth to check the balance of our own personal scales.
Therefore, we seek the basic habits and verbal crutches we use to comfort us. We do this to achieve balance because the idea of feeling otherwise can be threatening.
The oddest part is the fact that we find comfort in our discomforts. At least they make sense to us. We can understand them. We understand the rules of their interaction.
On the other hand, the idea of personal wellness is to achieve balance without the use of an outside crutch. The idea of mindfulness is to attain balance without seeking an outside source
But how do we do that?
How does one change?
According to Newton, an object in motion will remain in motion at the same speed and at the same direction unless it is acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Intellectually speaking, we know how to live. Intellectually, we know how to eat properly. We know to look both ways before ways before we cross the street. we know an apple a day keeps the doctor away. We know that holding hands is good for the soul. We know that laughter is the best medicine. From an intellectual standpoint, we understand right from wrong. But our intellect is not what needs the comfort. There is no good or bad or right or wrong in the logical part of our brain. There is only plan, strategy, and action.
Emotionally speaking, however, action can be intimidating. Emotionally, we feel too much. Emotionally, we think too often. From an emotional standpoint, we seek comfort, which is where we find ourselves in the crux of a habit because from an emotional standpoint, this is where we run away. This is where the body knows what to do without any input from the mind.
So what do we do?
First, we have to create our own little changes. Albeit uncomfortable, we have to act. We have to make changes on a daily basis. We have to do this continuously and consecutively until the change becomes natural.
This helps in personal life as well as in the workplace.
- Make a subtle change towards the direction you choose for yourself.
- Replace thought with action
- If you choose to counter act your behavior be sure to understand the rules of gravity so that your actions can act as a counterweight to your old behaviors.
- Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone (The results are often more rewarding than people figure)
- Learn to focus on daily successes.
- Set incremental and short term goals
- Distraction is important to defy the obsessiveness of compulsion.
- Replacement is important. Otherwise we tend to feel the emptiness of a void and the oddity of the absence of our habit
- Concentrate on the effort. Not the outcome.
- Give yourself the permission to do all that is necessary to improve. And remember: your process and your own personal redemption have nothing to do with anyone else.
It is said that we are creatures of habit. But that is okay because not all habits are bad.
For example, I changed my eating habits. I lost 60lbs.
I changed my habit of personal interactions. I do not have the same arguments nor do I have the old feelings of resentment or shame.
I changed my actions and habits to find a better sense of self-esteem
In the workplace, I changed who I work with and switched who I interact with. I created a system for myself, which, in turn, created a sense of worth and value.
This is important because our worth and internal value dictate all. Put simply, deep down, if we believed we were worth more, we would never settle for anything less.
Our habits are the mind’s reflection and how we interact with the world. This is also a reflection of our personal faith and internal value. This is how we protect us and soothe ourselves. So it’s not the habit that I think about. It’s the reason behind it which makes me think. Soothe the inner being and then suddenly, the habits we chose will suddenly become unnecessary.