Oh No, Not Habits!

When I was young, I hated habits. My standard defense to them was we should not do things out of habit, we should do things that just need to be done. And, by the same token, we should not do things which are a waste of time. If I slept in the bed last night and I was going to sleep in it tonight, and nothing was going on in the bedroom, why should I make the bed in the morning if I was just going to mess it up again that evening?

After many years, and a lot of growing older, I  realized that I wasn’t getting rid of habits, I was only choosing the ones I wanted to follow. Watching TV every night is a habit. Whether you get up early, get up a little later or just turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, if you do it again and again, it is a habit. Stopping by the store in the morning to pick up a donut is a habit.

The truth is, we are all creatures of habit. We cannot help it. As I have grown older, I have come to understand that the trick is not to get rid of habits. Instead, we need to understand which habits get us to where we want to go and what we want to do, and which ones do not.

Do I really want to waste my evening, every evening just sitting in front of a television? Or sometimes what I like to read a book, go out to see a movie, or do something on the computer? Once we realize the choices are ours to make and we don’t have to just follow a pattern, life gets more interesting. We get to do more things. If our surroundings look better, we feel better.

I have learned that I can empty and fill the dishwasher is less than seven minutes. I can pick up a messy office in less than 10. And as for making the bed, every article I read about those who have made their billions in high-tech or other entrepreneurial endeavors, they all make their bed when they get up in the morning. It does set a good start to the day.

Thank you for being here. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.