Habits are automatic you. They’re actions that you’ve done so often, know so well, that your brain has relegated them to the same place that it keeps the walking, talking, breathing, bicycle-riding and driving. They’re not the same as compulsions, they’re just things that have taken on a life of their own because you’ve stopped paying attention.
It’s great that we can create habits to keep us doing things that are essential. It’s not so great when non-essentials form into habits. They take on a stone-like, flinty quality which can spark anxiety if they are not executed when cued so that fulfilling the habit in itself becomes an action that must be performed to stop unpleasant feelings.
Wherever you have a habit you’ve become unconscious. It’s not only actions, but assumptions, thoughts, entire suites of theories, that become habitual. At some point in your life this was useful to have them automated. But if you never disassemble them you’ll never grow and move on and you won’t even notice.
It takes about nine conscious efforts to even become aware that you are entering an automated routine and about nine times nine sincere, focused attempts to overwrite the sequence. This can feel nerve wracking to some. If you feel that way remember that you will never really forget your habit and if you want to you can go back to it at some later date, no problem. It’s not like somebody’s going to run off with it.
Like Dave Lee Roth said, “We’ve all got our self-destructive bad habits. The trick is to find four or five you personally like the best and just do those all the time.”
Writing – is one of my habits. I’ve slowed right down lately. Maybe I need to bump it back up the list.