02 Jun Thinking “If Only” Ain’t Going to Cut It. Get Rid of Your Worst Habits.
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“If only somebody would do it for me.”
If you have ever found yourself thinking anything any thoughts like these, it could be a deeply hidden wish for change in your life.
Do you have habits?
Of course you do! You probably can think of a few of your worst habits.
That’s why our habits deserve our attention. What may now seem to be a very minor habit can have tremendous impact in your future. In fact, I’m willing to bet that you’re probably practicing habits right now that keep you from moving forward to your success.
Do you know what they are? Habits are “a regular tendency or practice.” Our habits are actions on autopilot. Habits can become so ingrained that we’re not even aware we’re doing them.
Do you even have any idea what these worst habits might be?
Let’s say you have a “habit” or tendency of criticizing your spouse. You tell him all the things he does wrong. He may pay attention at first and try to improve, but after a while he stops listening. Eventually, he may get resentful and angry. Maybe he could begin to avoid you and start hanging around people who are more supportive.
This, of course, leads you to hurling even more criticism, this time about his avoidance of you. Your spats become fights. Your kids are cowering. You get divorced.
Could this sorry saga, which happens every day in every nation, have been avoided? What if someone had pointed out your tendency to criticize your spouse early on? What if you had listened instead of being defensive? What if you had found ways to be supportive? Maybe things would have been different.
One little habit started it all. It seemed so harmless at the time. “I’m just trying to make him the best he can be,” you said to yourself. When you’re standing in the ruins of your marriage, it’s not always easy to see the destruction caused by that innocent little habit. It’s like trying to find out what caused a fire that destroyed a home.
Consider another example.
Let’s say you have a habit of eating a bowl of ice cream before you go to bed at night. Every night you curl up on that comfy couch with a book or TV with that luscious bowl of ice cream. Sometimes one bowl becomes two. Even though you eat a healthy diet the rest of the time, that bowl of ice cream before bed has started to creep up on you. Each month, you gain a pound. Eventually, that bowl of ice cream each night adds to 60 pounds of extra baggage.
You now feel fat and sluggish. Your clothes don’t fit. Replacing them costs big money, money that you could have used for something else. Your blood pressure is going up. And, now there’s a Lipitor prescription in your future. You’ve also developed low self esteem.
It takes 60 lbs of “the one bowl a night” habit to motivate you to make a change. You end up dieting for a whole year, eating nothing but ground turkey, rice cakes, and cucumbers to undo the damage caused by your one little habit. You could have changed your habit early on. You could have learned to eat only a quarter of the amount of ice cream. You could have added a daily walk to your routine. Instead, you chose not to. One little habit caused one big, fat mess.
Can you see how one little habit, practiced over time, can take its toll?
That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your actions and to realize that what you do affects your life. What you think affects your life.
If you want to move out of the fog and into the sunrise of opportunity, you have to be willing to retire old habits. And, more importantly, you must be willing to practice new ones, even if you address just one little habit at a time.Now, take the time to take an inventory of your habits and thinking, change what you must, then go grab yourself a whole bunch of sunrises of opportunity!