Monday, 1 April 2013

Can't Help Myself, Bad Habits

Habits are so hard to break, aren’t they? Just think about it. Usually these habits are developed over many years, if not decades. So to think it can be changed, just like that, is a bit unrealistic. It takes work, and persistence, not giving up, forgiveness for slipping back into that habit (and that WILL happen), and eventually, a new habit will take its place.

Yep, that’s right, one habit replaced with another! Mind you, not all habits are bad. Habits do get a bad rap, but there are many habits that make our lives easier, or better even.
my apple tree harvest this year
thanks to good teeth, I can eat them!
Take cleaning your teeth – that’s a good habit. It’s one that is instilled in us from a very early age. And for that, I’m grateful. It means that at the ripe old age of 52, I only have a couple of fillings, and my visits to the dentist are mostly just checkups. I don’t think I ever considered visits to the dentist as traumatic, until I had a nasty experience when I was in my thirties, but that was the dentist’s fault, not my teeth.
And for the fact that I have fairly good teeth, I thank the habit of cleaning them that my mother drilled into me. BUT (and of course there is a BUT), my teeth could be better, if I flossed. That was a habit that I never got in to. Maybe flossing wasn’t a concept back in the 1960’s. So I don’t do it now. I’ve tried to get into the habit, but it’s been very difficult.

stewed apples, dried apples, and still
a box full of apples!
Habits are physical things – things we do – but I think they are also mental things – things we think (or not think). We think about ourselves and others in particular ways, because that is the habit we have gotten into.
I don’t think of myself as “sporty”, because one of my sisters was the “sporty” one. I always played sport, but I never thought I was good enough. As a result, in my adult life, I haven’t put much of an emphasis on exercise – why do it if I’m never going to be good enough?  I kept up the exercise, until I started getting older and it took longer to recover, and injuries started to take their toll. But exercise is such an important thing, even more so as I get older. Yep, here’s that idea of being in good physical condition again!

my Saturday morning exercise class - and yes,
we are actually working out
Since I knew I had to do something to keep myself physically active (no more running up the stairs at the train station, to catch the train to work), I had to break that habit of thinking that there was no point in doing it if I wasn’t going to be good at it. It was stopping me from enjoying exercise, and stopping me from changing my physical bad habits.

I still don’t think of myself as “sporty”. But I have (mostly) broken that habit of thinking that I have to be good at it in order to enjoy it. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, or how good I am at it, if the activity involves the things I enjoy (the people I’m doing it with are good fun, it is varied so I don’t get bored, it gets me outside), then I’m more likely to do that activity regularly – it becomes a habit!

So, I think I’ve pretty much developed the habit of thinking of myself as someone who exercises. As a result, I definitely have a habit of going to my exercise class on Saturday mornings. I still have the habit of cleaning my teeth. The habit of flossing, though, that’s still a work in progress!

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