It is great to be able to share with you all yet another exciting blog today. I hope the New Year is treating you well. We are 14 days in, out of 365 days. So now is the time to make the best of it. Since it is a New Year and many of us will be creating new life patterns, I felt I share something in that light. Today our word for discussion is HABIT. As a Kid, I met an elderly Lady who was friends with my God-Mother. We use to visit her place since she lived alone for the most part of the time. She was quite affluent and I guess business trips kept the husband away a lot.
During one of our visits, I remember she was discussing with my God-Mother and they were somehow talking about habits. The lady then said “Lola (My God-Mothers name), you know habits are very difficult to change. They say even when you try to give up a HABIT, you are still left with “ABIT”. Then you try some more and you are still left with “BIT”, and even when you push further, “IT” is still there. They both laughed at the Pun and carried on with their conversation. I was maybe 7/8 years old at the time, but this analogy struck me and I have had this story in my head ever since. I am in my 30’s now and with every passing day and my various interactions with people, the world over I see what she meant. Honestly, Habits are quite difficult to develop or give up. Cultivating a good habit is just as difficult as giving up a bad one IF there is no discipline.
Habits have a way of conditioning us and when we try to break away from them what we are actually doing is giving up the conditioning. I have quite a lot of examples I can use to illustrate this however I’ll pick one that is both physical and psychological. In my early days of Martial Arts training as a kid, I used to have difficulty doing push-ups with my knuckles. It was hard and very painful. Each time we had to do push-ups, I’ll be like “Oh no, not again”. Over time, and as I grew up doing so many push-ups during my training sessions, we can say I got used to it and it didn’t hurt anymore. Well, let’s look closely at what really happened. First and foremost, my reps increased from barely 10 to 50 straight and sets of as many as I wanted. This was from endurance over time and over the years. My knuckles didn’t hurt anymore and in fact, they were now used in other tougher drills like breaking bricks and boards.
A closer look at my knuckles showed I had developed callouses that were now like a cushion (a tough one I’ll say). These callouses on my knuckles had developed from the constant contact with the concrete floors I used to do my push-ups. It is safe to say, my knuckles had been “conditioned”. So the habit of doing push-ups daily had done two things; increase my endurance and created callouses on my knuckles that were sort of immune to the sharp pain of contact with the floor. This is how habits work. When we have a habit, especially bad ones we develop endurance to good ones and we become conditioned ( that is immune to the sense of what is right). we can say habits create callouses on us that make it difficult to discern what is right and wrong. One of the most difficult habits to give up are those we have picked up of time; say from when we were kids. Another set of habits that are difficult to break away from are those we picked up when we had no supervision in our lives; our young adult years.
Unfortunately, I have come across people with habits that just make you wonder if they had any form of adult supervision growing up. You cringe at the intensity of their habits and simultaneously feel sad at the level of their indulgence in it. One of the most difficult parts of giving up bad habits is recognizing that the habit is bad and should be changed. If one doesn’t see that the gravity of the habit and how it is affecting them and those around then change is but a dream. It doesn’t matter what the habit is or when it was picked up, eventually, you will suffer from the conditioning and those who are around you will either suffer or distant themselves to avoid suffering. Whether it is alcohol consumption, smoking, infidelity, pornography, drugs, hygiene, etc the person involved is first conditioned over time on indulgence, then they suffer, then those around them do.
Okay now we get it, habits that are bad are difficult to break away. So does that mean that anyone with a bad habit is doomed? Absolutely not, as long as they are willing to make a change. To make a change, you must first identify what needs to be changed. If you do not see anything wrong with your habit then how can you make a change. You have to realize that even though family and friends may express that you should make a change, you are doing it for yourself ultimately. You get to enjoy any positive changes you make more than anyone else around you. So do it for yourself! As with anything that requires results, you have to be consistent with whatever change program you have adopted and you have to be disciplined to follow it through. One may see the need to change a habit and even go ahead to adopt a change program however if there is no discipline to stick to it and follow it through the results cannot be guaranteed.
It is a New Year and I know many of us do have aspirations and goals, in other to reach them we have to pick up some new habits while dropping off old and bad ones. Lets us make a conscious decision to change for the better and for ourselves. I hope you all have a great week ahead. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.