Both habits and habit-breaking only succeed by repetition. Duh, they’re a habit. Habit-forming is easy. Habit-breaking is harder, because it takes conscious determination and effort not to fall mindlessly into the familiar, comforting habit. At first you have to will yourself into resisting and reversing habitual behaviors, day in and day out, until the new habit is formed. Seems like stating the obvious, but try it some time…and some more time, and time after time, because by definition it won’t happen overnight.
For example: mindless exercise on the Infernal Machine is abhorrent to my very nature. I have to steel myself to do my one-minute minimum per day. In time it will be less of a chore, but never automatic. Some people or animals may like being a rat on a treadmill, but not me.
Filing, not my favorite activity. I spent decades building my imposing file cabinet of ancient manuscripts, and downsizing it is a daunting task. OMG what if I need that arcane, obsolete document years from now to prove something or other? Damn you, stupid paper-hoarding genetics! I will defeat you if it kills me. Or if the file cabinet weighing literally a ton falls on me, whichever comes first.
Judgmental, intolerant attitudinal habits, also inherited from my parentage and upbringing, are much less tangible and hard to kick. I’m starting to realize how deeply they can be ingrained. They jump out and bite me every day, living in a backward place like Ohio. I have to consciously confront these demons, acknowledge their presence, and recognize them for what they are–insidious and divisive. Not a simple task.
Unnecessary eating, now that’s the kicker. Not like we have or eat much food in the first place, let alone junk food, but it’s the comforting security illusion that’s in play here. That, and the endless waiting room atmosphere until we can move out of here. Not to mention it’s frigid out, warm in here, and we’re hibernators. So it’s a challenge, but it shall be vanquished. Some day in our future home!
Reducing FB time; now there’s a real time-waster. I have to redirect myself to more substance on-or offline, like worthwhile articles, research, newsletters, books, and making myself do this writing. So if my blahgposts seem like make-work or busywork, it’s because they’re retraining exercises. If by some small chance they uplift or entertain, it’s merely a coincidence. It’s easier to be a mindless zombie than make the effort to think and try to communicate intelligently.
Posting more informative, constructive posts and articles also takes some filtering and screening out the drama drivel. There’s so much incredibly bad news out there right now! The Horror! It must be exposed so everyone can share my misery and outrage and despair! It takes some restraint to control the knee-jerk reaction, and try to limit shares to what may inform and inspire us to act more civilized and proactive. Or even just some needed comic relief.
Finally, the key to changing habits is to do something realistic in each category daily. Don’t take on too much at a time, but don’t back down. That’s the trick to defeating self-destructive behaviors and attitudes. Recognize them for the little buggers they are, and consciously refuse to enable them, one increment at a time. Replace and repeat. I’ll let you know how that goes.