Establishing Habits

During this time of year, people are often setting their New Year’s resolutions only to find themselves falling short of their expectations not too long after. I think we’ve all done it: trying to stick to a budget, lose some weight and exercise more, or stress less and enjoy the moment. The biggest part of our success will always be in forming a new habit to support our resolution.

It is tough. It is not easy tearing down our bad habits – they have formed because it is the easier way of doing things and often the lazier way. Like a river, we tend to choose the path of least resistance. Even harder is to build a good habit. It takes hard work and practice and there are going to be many times we are going to feel like giving up. Or there will be times we are going to mess up and fail. We are human, after all.

So what is the secret to success? The consensus seems to be to keep on trying, to make small steps, and when you fail, dust yourself off and try again. Return to balance. I read something last night that caught my attention. It was saying that to form a habit always involves 2 things: Effort and Choice. Both are within our grasp, they are things we can do in a world of things we cannot control. So instead of looking at the mountain and thinking it is insurmountable, take it step by step. Choose to take another step forward, then put effort into action and find some small way to make it possible. Look at each moment as another chance to use effort and choice and grasp the passing opportunity to make the change.

I’m not writing as one who has it all together, or who has the perfected the art of living. I’m writing as a fellow human who knows the struggles of trying to always improve, always climb upward. I have known successes, and I have known failures. These struggles are nothing new to mankind – the types of struggles may have changed in how they appear from age to age, but man’s inherent nature means we need to deconstruct the bad habits and focus on establishing the good.   

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