Breaking The Habit

Dr. Purushothaman
January 12, 2014


Many people tend to live a habitual life: always taking the same route to work or to the shops, getting dressed in the same order, having the same circle of friends, dining at the same restaurants or going to the same resort for their holidays year after year.
And what about the other habits, those that make up who some people are: always a cigarette with a cup of coffee or when feeling stressed, too shy to attend social events so would rather sulk at home feeling lonely, or perhaps not confident or courageous enough to ask a person on a date.
A grandmother once confided in me that her granddaughter would not go out of her home. She would stay in and watch television or read a book.
The worried grandmother had one burning question on her lips: "I want my granddaughter to go out, make friends and see what there is outside of her home. I want her to be confident enough to start enjoying life. After all you're only young once!
"I really want her to make something more out of her life. How can I help her to get out of her shell? This habit of staying in all the time has to change."
We are the creators of our habits. We knowingly and consciously create some habits, yet we can also create some unknowingly and unconsciously. Either way, we created them.
We created the habit of putting our feet up in front of the television after dinner, or to go for a drink every Saturday night.
We create our habits because we are creatures of habit. As human beings, that's what we do, create one habit after the next.
And we can create some habits directly from our beliefs. For example, as in the granddaughter situation, she believes she is lacking in self-confidence, so she has formed the habit of staying indoors and avoiding people other than her family.
Since we are the creators of our habits, the good and the not-so-good, we are able to change those that do not serve us well. And by changing them, we can better our life.
Over the next few weeks, the grandmother gently eased the unconfident granddaughter out with her to the shops, to the open space. At lunchtime, instead of returning home, they would purposefully eat at a fast food restaurant.
After a month or so, I was very happy to learn that the granddaughter began to make a number of significant changes. The nine year old child began to incorporate new things into her life. She joined the after-school chess club and ICT class.
And what's even more encouraging was that joining these extra-curricular activities were her ideas. Not her grandmother's!
In time, the girl built on the confidence gained from these activities and took on larger and more challenging ones. In this way, she naturally integrated increased confidence with new habits to improve on her life.
This year, start off by getting into the routine of changing your old habits by making one small change every day, every week or even every month. This change can be large or small. It doesn't matter, for in time, this change will build momentum.
The possibility for change is always there, every moment of every day.

Create and practice habits that support how you want to be, and notice how you gain more confidence and be ready to take on new opportunities.
If there is a habit that is not allowing you to make an improvement in your life, what would that habit be?

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