“Habit: a settled tendency or usual pattern of behavior.”
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary
It’s always a challenge for me to do the things that I know will set and keep me on the right track. There’s a part of me that resists the change, that feels that I’ll be sacrificing behaviors that I deserve to enjoy. That’s the nub of it; ‘behaviors that I deserve to enjoy’.
When I put it that way, I have to admit to myself that those behaviors are mostly habits that don’t support me. They don’t support the goals I have set for myself and, if I’m honest with myself, they are behaviors that have likely been responsible for the lack of traction in my goals for much of my life.
“Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits ate the unlocked door to failure.” – Mandino
The reminder here is that habits, either good or bad, become ingrained through use, constant use. My experience has been that I develop and maintain good habits which begin to produce positive effects for me and then my schedule gets disrupted (travel, vacation, deadlines, etc.) and I forego my habitual positive behaviors and before I know it, I’m on the outside of my regimented, positive life looking in and back at what was working for me, trying to develop the momentum to get it all going again, when I know, from a lifetime of process, that the only way to do it, is to do it.
“It is another of nature’s laws, that only a habit can subdue another habit.” – ibid.
If it is true that the world without is a reflection of the world within, it is also true that sometimes the route to change is to simply to begin the act desired, ignoring the inner voices. I may definitely not be up for arising before dawn to workout, but if I lay out my exercise clothes at bedtime, and force myself out of bed and start to dress and proceed on the basis of a decision made beforehand, the next thing I know I am putting one foot in front of the other and pretty soon I’m in the middle of my workout feeling pretty good about myself.
Of course, it was my inner decision the night before that conducted the whole process.
“The world within is the cause, the works without the effect; to change the effect you must change the cause.” – Haanel, 1-36.