Habit Your Way

First we make our habits, then our habits make us. ~ Charles C. Noble

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. ~ Benjamin Franklin

William James said we are two beings. One is instinctual, the animal inside that asks for food when it's hungry and for sleep when it's tired. The other is the rational being inside developing rules to domesticate the animal. We wait for the right time to eat, the right person to marry and we obey social rules developed by our culture and environment. Both beings use one of the most wonderful gifts given us, the ability to do things without thinking. Once we learn something that occurs on a regular basis, we go on autopilot and are able to concentrate on other things that require more, well, concentration. Driving home from work becomes so ingrained in us that we will wind up there even if we are supposed to go somewhere else that day. You walk in the door and your spouse says: "Where are the kids?" and you realize your autopilot was more powerful than your memory.

The things we do without thinking are called habits. When a familiar thought or happening or sometimes even a smell or sound causes you to respond in a certain way, we call the thing that prompted it a "trigger." Most of us are like that. We react to the situation or "trigger" through a habit formed from past experience.

Those who learn to use habits in an effective way are among the most successful members of our society. Aristotle said : We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit. You can create and harness a habit to work for you in the direction of a personally picked goal. Once you evaluate and set the priorities of your life, you can make a plan to accomplish your goals in a way that sets you free by putting more and more activities on autopilot. In the recent movie Tron Legacy, Flynn does just that--he creates an avatar (Clu) to help him create the perfect world. In the movie as in life, the habits we create can be an incredible force for good or a powerful adversary. Those of us who wish to be our very best learn to curb unhealthy habits and encourage the ones that empower us and help us to fulfill our goals.

Steven Covey helped us realize that the habits of success and effectiveness revolve around our own core values and our relationships with others. When you respect and value yourself you can relate successfully to others. This means you make room for and include them in your schedule and plans. When you respect others who support you in your goals, you are more likely to succeed in a way that builds character and relationships.

Habit Your Way means that

1. YOU set a goal based on your personal values,

2. YOU make choices to change or create behaviors consistent with that goal,

3. YOU respect and involve others to support you in achieving the goal and

4. YOU do the hard work of repetition and focus that turns a goal into a habit

Halfway through a 70 mile bike ride, a personal goal of mine, I was talking to a woman sitting next to us at In-N-Out who won an office contest to lose the most weight in a certain time period. I asked her how she did it and she admitted she went to one of the commercial weight loss programs. When I asked what she liked about the program she echoed several of the four things below that I believe are fundamental to changing old habits and making healthy ones.

1. Accountability--When you have to report to someone else how you are doing, you are more likely to do it the right way.

2. Support--Other people who are going through the same things as you can be a tremendous help by cheering you on or being there for you when times are hard.

3. Structure--Making a plan and sticking to a schedule helps you to keep from getting distracted or doing things in a non-helpful manner. For example, the woman in the diet contest utilized her particular program's prepared meals to make it easier to stay on her diet.

4. Higher Power--Habits can be so ingrained that you need more help than your own resources can provide. I've found that even those who do not identify with a religion will welcome a prayer on their behalf when life gets tough. I say get all the help you can.

Wisdom from twelve step programs: Examine your life and make a list of the things you would like to change. Share these with someone else and determine that, with God's help, you will change them. If these unhealthy habits have harmed others, apologize and make it right if possible. Continue this process, relying on God's wisdom and help and be an influence for others to change as well.

You only have one life. It is much too short to spend it wishing you had made better choices. Socrates, on trial for his life because of encouraging students to challenge their world and think for themselves, said that the unexamined life is not worth living. What would happen if you really examined your life? Is your routine and everyday behavior keeping you from realizing your life goals? If so, try trading in some of those unhealthy, distracting habits for some new, empowering ones.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. ~ Vince Lombardi

If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page. ~ Mark Houlahan

Never Underestimate the Power of a Triggering Motivation

Habits? the only reason they persist is that they are offering some satisfaction? You allow them to persist by not seeking any other, better form of satisfying the same needs. Every habit, good or bad, is acquired and learned in the same way - by finding that it is a means of satisfaction. ~ Juliene Berk

Bad habits are like chains that are too light to feel until they are too heavy to carry. ~ Warren Buffet

I have noticed that many of the male writers in Hubpages become eloquent in their comments when the avatar of the female writer is particularly attractive. For males, a beautiful woman can trigger action and this phenomenon has been capitalized on successfully by marketers for most of our history. Females are not immune either. Handsome young teen idols sell countless products to smitten young girls, beautiful people in the latest fashions trigger impulse buying and the Marlboro man led a generation of young men to cigarette habits and a rendezvous with lung cancer.

By identifying what triggers our unwanted habit, we can substitute more appropriate techniques to manage our emotional problems and then create a positive, healthy habit in its place.

How to Identify Your Habit Triggers

Things that trigger us fall into these main categories:

Your Emotions: When you feel tired, bored, angry, depressed, tense, anxious, under stress or lonely, most of us at some times allow these powerful triggers in life and bring out the worst in us. Alcoholism or drug use, overeating, arguments, acting out and gang behavior are just some of the habits that drain our potential and the resources of society to combat them.

Certain Situations: Because the opportunity is there. For example, seeing an advertisement or passing by a specific location. When I pass by a certain bakery, the super fudgey brownie calls to me like a siren. The solution to changing this habit may just involve finding an alternate route. Habits may also be triggered by association with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies (smelling the popcorn, big screen action and snacks.) or a sporting event (fighting at hockey matches,) or a rock concert (drinking and drug use.)

Your Thoughts: Everyone feels bad at one time or another for screwing up or your self worth is low and you tell yourself you are hopeless and a loser. This is what makes the classic books like Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich or Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking so incredibly successful. We need to hear ourselves saying what builds our self esteem. Putting positive affirmations on Post-Its and putting them where you will routinely see them or playing motivational cds can be a positive trigger.

Your Physical Condition: Our physical discomforts can trigger actions that may be unhealthy. Talking on an empty and growling stomach can often tie into a habit of verbally lashing out. Some people are to be avoided if they haven't had their coffee. A simple headache can trigger a familiar argument or avoidance behaviors. While some obsessive behavior seems to be triggered by many cues such as cracks on the sidewalk, unwashed door handles etc, the real trigger is the physiological or mental condition. Avoid trying to deal with actions when the underlying physical condition is the real thing to be addressed.

Social Influences: What others think or say about us has a tremendous impact on our behaviors. Harmful influences such as gangs can trigger all kinds of destructive behavior and habits. But by the same token, if you want to achieve a success goal, such as financial independence, you can make your habit trigger being around financially successful people. If your goal is to achieve a productive and influential life, you can find those who are encouraging and positive. Your natural tendency to fit in will trigger the motivation to do that interview, market your services, make those sales calls, or whatever habit you have chosen to use to achieve your goal. When you are around people who are always financially struggling or dysfunctional socially and always have an excuse for it, their bad habits will move you in the opposite direction of your goal.

You might say "Being around successful people intimidates me and makes me feel inadequate. I feel much more comfortable around ordinary people who are struggling." There is only one appropriate response for this: "No pain, no gain"--voluntarily putting yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable but is pursuing your goal can be as satisfying as a hard workout. The results far outweigh the initial discomfort.

Ways to Discourage Bad Habits

Any habit that does not fit your life goals is one you should eliminate. Use the checklist above to identify what triggers the actions and either change your mind set to avoid the habit or substitute another, more positive habit. 

Once my partner told me she was going to do a certain action and I immediately responded with an emotional, negative reply with accompanying feelings of sadness. When she questioned why I responded that way, I asked myself the same question and I realized that I did not really think what I had said. It was a knee-jerk reaction of feelings developed during painful adolescence. When I correctly identified the origin of my feelings, I simply made a mental adjustment and was never bothered by that activity again.

 You can also create a new habit to replace the old. Responses to our environment which are repeated enough lead to specific chemical and electrical neural pathways in our brains that shape who we are and how we feel and act. It is like walking the same way through the tall grass in a field until a path is formed.

Later in the article I will show you how to do that, but sometimes, all that is necessary is a simple distraction. Here are some ways to take your mind off the trigger that would pull you into a bad habit:

  • Keep yourself busy with necessary chores like cleaning the house or yard, paying the bills, or designing a new layout or closet.
  • Play a game with friends or watch a movie.
  • Go to a social or educational event.
  • Catch up on your writing, letters or study.
  • Physical exercise often can take your mind and emotions off the unhealthy triggered urges. When I have finished a challenging mountain bike adventure, I am filled with natural endorphins and good will that goes a long way to improving my attitude and actions.
  • Meditation and prayer often calms and encourages you when self-control isn't enough. My employees have noticed this phenomenon first hand so that whenever tempers flare, whether they personally have faith or not, they ask if we can pray because they see the positive difference in behaviors.

Habits of Champions

Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything
~ Lance Armstrong

When Lance Armstrong was beginning to enter competitions with some heavy and respected cyclists, he found himself challenging the best even when he should have held back. Because he was such a strong rider, he would attack too early and wind up behind. Instead of yelling at him, his coaches let him experience some of the consequences of his behavior. He finally began to ask himself, "If I am the strongest, why aren't I winning?" It was at this point of deciding that his habits were not helping him be what he wanted to be, that he began to change his actions. He forced himself to wait until it was time to move. By realizing that patience was not the same as being weak, he let knowledge overcome his instinct. He let the encouragement of his coaches and colleagues influence him to be patient.

Habits you form for other purposes can be harnessed for a new goal.

Toni Morrison says: "I was writing Beloved, at that time–this was in 1983–and eventually I realized that I was clearer-headed, more confident and generally more intelligent in the morning. The habit of getting up early, which I had formed when the children were young, now became my choice."

If you have a habit of talking to a best friend every day, use the opportunity to report to them and have them support you in your new, healthy habit goal. If you want to eat less and you have a habit of eating at the same favorite restaurants, use their nutrition information and pick out meals you can have and stick to them. One of my favorites, for example, the fast growing Corner Bakery has a new menu of 100 combinations under 600 calories. The trick is to make the choice that if you go to that restaurant, you can only choose from these.

Barack Obama has used his habit of breakfast with his kids and helping them get off to school to his advantage now that he "lives over the store." Having this link and repetition frees him up to follow his routine in the Oval Office.

Keys to Forming a Successful Habit

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. ~ Jim Ryun

1. Want it. When you are creating a helpful habit, the most important thing is to have sufficient motivation. Before you begin, ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal, and how much you want it. If it is in the categories of things we most value--God, family, friends, job, etc., the more likely we will succeed in creating and maintaining the habit.

2.Write out a plan. with dates and actions. Think about obstacles, and write down your strategy for overcoming them. Arrange circumstances, conditions, schedules in ways that reinforce the new pattern and discourages the old. Decide what you are going to do with the "triggers" you will encounter. Choose some alternate triggers which will reinforce your new, healthy habit. Having a plan shows that you are serious.

3. One habit at a time. Kierkegaard said that "Purity of heart is to will one thing." When you work on too many things at once it is difficult to maintain your concentration and discipline and in fact, may stop you from starting at all. Once you have created and sufficiently reinforced the one pattern of behavior, it becomes automatic (habit) and this allows you to go on to the next one.

4.Build up to it. Instead of tackling a big project at once, work on a smaller part and let these "mini-habits" help you with the big one. If you want to develop the habit of running for exercise, you don't want to start with the Boston Marathon. You might start running around a track or the block and then try a few 5K's (3.1 miles) and then move to 10K's. (6.2 miles.)

5. Prioritize your Schedule Pick a time with the least amount of distractions and be absolutely consistent with it. When travelers want to quickly overcome jet lag and get themselves on their new schedule, experts find that even if you aren't able to fall asleep at your regular time, getting up exactly when the alarm goes off is critical, especially when it is reinforced with bright lights and, in my case, loud music. If your schedule is too full, try throwing out things that aren't part of your core values.

6. Find ways to maintain your focus. Give yourself a theme song. Ask others to give you encouragement (be careful not to let them take over the motivation, that's yours.) Write yourself post-its, make a poster of your goals, follow your progress on a calendar, and most importantly, keep a journal of your progress so you can adjust if necessary. Start every day by visualizing your goal and how you will look and feel when it is accomplished.

7. Make it routine. A habit is merely something you have made routine. After you have made your plan, scheduled the time, put it on the calendar and arranged for support from your friends or family, determine that you will do it religiously. Consistency is crucial and each day you succeed makes it more likely you will not break stride. Someone has said it takes 21 days of doing a thing to make it into a habit. That allows you to form one habit a month with a few days left over to plan and get ready for it.

8. Make it Fun. Zig Ziglar says that healthy habits are difficult to create but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to create and difficult to live with. The more you find ways to reward each small step towards your goal, the more fun it will be and it will help propel you forward to success.

A habit is a path you make towards a goal. The more time you spend on your path, the easier it is to reach your goal. ~ Winsome

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

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Comments 57 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 6 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Great writing and well researched. Voting up.

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

It seems to get easier as we get older, or at least i am finding that, to ditch unhealthy habits. At christmas i decided not to have anything containing sugar, chocolate, ice cream, cakes etc. I haven't missed any of it one bit and get much more long term satisfaction, that the short term fix. Avoiding these bad habits seems to be too difficult for many people, maybe it is in our genes, as most of my family have very few bad habits. This is a pretty comprehensive hub, but will people harness it's principles?

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest

Great hub and ideas for making life changes. Worth two reads!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Welcome Fiddleman, nice to see you and thank you for the read and positive review. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Aye AH, there's the rub. If only knowledge could insure discipline. This hub is like a high end Swiss Army knife--when you need it, it's here. Those who want to curb some nasties--open up tool #3, those who want to custom-make habits for excellence--open up tool #4 etc. I congratulate you on achieving your goal. If you've read my I'm Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, you'll know how I fared. With all these Easter goodies on the shelves I'm scheduling my walk from Pasadena to the Aleutian Islands and back next week.

As for using these ideas--build it, they will come.

Thanks for the comment mate. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Good to see you John, thanks for the once and future reads! We all could use a life change now and again so what the hey--let's do it. =:)

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

I wish I could make writing a habit!

Wonderfully motivating hub, Winsome...:)

quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

Hi WinAll! Great essay you've written. Whenever I come across an interesting article, halfway through I always scroll down fast to check out who won! I did that right here too, as a habit, but I had to keep going back to check out how the winner won!

Congratulations! :)

arb profile image

arb 6 years ago from oregon

I have a bad habit of reading good stuff! Bad, because I should be writing. Well done!

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

As I was reading your article, I was thinking of the questions each section generated in me. Lo and behold, you followed by answering each question. Well researched and thorough piece, Winsome. I particularly related to the segment regarding being overwhelmed. That is a very real issue and can serve to paralyze the best laid ideas for success in change. Ultimately, there must be a powerful motivation to change, as most people are resistant. Status quo, even when it's not productive, feels familiar and the "comfort zone" feels like a sanctuary.

The quote by Jim Ryun, "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going" made me stop and think about my endeavors in painting. I am always enthusiastic at the start as I see results of bringing a blank canvas to life. If I miss a couple of days, it turns into a week and then months later I am still vascillating about breaking out the brushes and paints. By that time, I have developed a "block" where fear that I can't finish it the way I envision takes hold. The only way to conquer the demon is to DO it. I've found that even if I have been painting every day for days, looking forward to it, one day without painting can break the cycle of progress and lead to a cycle of fear and self doubt. I look at the excellence I have painted and instead of that motivating me, it throws me into a tailspin of nagging doubt that I am incapable of doing another of that quality. Each painting must be a fluke! The fear of failure is stopping me dead in my tracks. It is the one area I have been unable to resolve. I eventually feel the need to paint again, but that cycle repeats itself at the inception of each new painting. I will go back and read your piece to see if that type of conumdrum is addressed with suggestions to overcome.

Thank you, winsome, for a very professional, interesting and informative piece on issues that plague most of us at one time or another.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Greetings FP, thank you for the compliment and I have a solution for you. Every day start to write and if you falter, just write out the reasons why you're stopped or how you feel, etc. and before you know it you'll be writing the good stuff. Most of us can change a habit just by starting in the right direction. One paw at a time Ms. Feline. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Quick, you are all the winners in this story because you took the time to read it. Thank you for your "quick" response and kind review. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Arb, the cure for the bad habit is to keep on cranking out the good ones like they always are. Thanks for the visit and read. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Amy, what a thoughtful comment, I appreciate it. Sounds like all you need to do with the painting is to go from emotion driven spurts to a friendly habit. In my "Toddler CEO" I talked about making failure your friend. The toddler never thinks about the falling down, they just keep getting up because walking is the focus, not the missteps. It is only as we get older and begin to fear what others think that we lose that wonderful idea. Here's a great habit to cultivate: Paint the heck out of those canvases and make sure you crank out some spectacular failures because "the sooner you start failing, the sooner you can succeed." I really enjoyed your comment. Thank you for stopping by. =:)

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Thank you, Winsome. I am so stubborn that if I fail, even just once, I know I'll feel so hideous, I just won't paint. But, that falls under the category of neurosis! I need a psych consult to address that one! For all cases other than the nut jobs, this is truly well done and worth keeping within easy reach at all times. I will revisit the Toddler article as I would fall into the category of tantrum thrower when I have artistic difficulties!

Awesome writing!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, I see you are one of those who need to get out the finger paint and get messy a few times to let it all out. Go ahead, we won't watch and you can throw them out if you want, but don't let a little canvas intimidate you. All the greats painted over theirs. The Mona Lisa was about the third try or so, if Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci can fail and like it, we can too. =:)

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

You simply cannot hide talent and you have that in spades :-)

"We are what we repeadedly do" as Aristotle said :-)

Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Wow, very thorough and informative article. I'm sure it will inspire and help a lot of people here at the hub!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Dimitri you are gracious and kind as always. Thank you for the Greek lesson and the affirmation. I learned from my Sunday School lessons that it's ok to have talent and spades so long as you do not use the latter to bury the former.

Good to see you my friend. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Kathi, I did this as research for my own habit reform and creation project. Maybe I'll do a follow-up of lab results. =:)

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I'm glad this wasn't about Burger King! LOL. You did get my interest and what I found was awesome Winsome. What a great subject and you covered it all beautifully and with style.

For me I try to stay positive as a habit and as Churchill said, "never, never, never give up". rated up and useful of course

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A splendidly written hub and veyr thought provoking.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, thank you GL, you know I was trying to find an audio byte of Churchill saying that to stick into the article. I should have looked under ring tones--wouldn't that be a great ring tone--you're at lunch with your friends trying to finish a big meal and dessert and out of your purse comes: "never, never, never give up." Thanks again for the visit, the read, the kind and entertaining words. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello my friend, Hello--It is so nice of you to visit and leave your gracious comment. I hope it was helpful, although I can't imagine you having any bad habits. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you S for your gracious comment. =:)

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

My worst habits are Smoking Cigarettes & Drinking!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi J, Smoking and drinking are probably the two habits most people work on the most next to overeating.

One person who had some success with quitting smoking just extended the time of lighting up after feeling the urge a few minutes at a time and when he worked up to a half-hour or hour, the urge was weak enough to quit entirely.

Another person visualized a child or a pet being hit by his car after drinking and the horror eventually allowed him to quit his excess. My main purpose of the article was to give ordinary people the tools to curb the things that drag them down and most importantly the tools to make some habits that would help them become extraordinary. If you want to excel at any goal, training your mind and body to cooperate with that goal is the most valuable thing you can do. Thanks for the read and the comment. =:)

jon carder 5 years ago

This is a great article. My friend wrote a book on the subject called The Habit Factor. It goes into even more depth on techniques to building positive habits. It's available on Amazon and no, I'm not affiliated with the book, just thought it was relevant.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Jon, thanks for the read and comment. I'll check out the book and b/c of what you do you might enjoy my article on "Why is the Secret to How." Cheers =:)

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Winsome, you made the front page! LOL. I was browsing through and saw the title, "Habit Your Way" and smiled. Then I saw your name, and thought, "Of course!" It sounds like something you would "say." Then I read the hub, and it's just really exceptional!!! Awesome, Winsome. Your voice comes through really strong... and likable. I like the examples you use of the female/male avatars. And I like how you disclosed about the incident where you auto reacted to something from adolescence. While you could have probably written a whole hub on that, you didn't go off on a tangent. Very nicely done:)

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Nice article that emphasized on good and bad habit.its really interesting.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Kim you are so sweet. Thank you for the warm and complimentary review. I think we all are reacting to stuff from adolescence and even earlier. It took me a long time to realize I don't have to be the way my experiences molded me--I actually can trim off habits, make new ones and choose the stellar environments and experiences that will influence the person I want to be. My next hub is going to be about the use of time-- I really appreciate you being such an eloquent member of my HP friends. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi C, glad you enjoyed it and I hope you can use it in your life. Thanks for visiting. =:)

denise mohan profile image

denise mohan 5 years ago from California

You are totally awesome! Thx for taking the time to share. I came to your site because of a poem you left on your comments about losing "things'. I loved it, it was so simple yet heartfelt. I have trouble with bad habits because i am addictive/compulsive. Trying to work that into exeresize and good eating. Please keep it up, loved reading you.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I need to paste this on the wall! Very motivational!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Denise that is totally sweet of you to say so. I had to laugh about the "losing things" poem because I completely lost any recollection of doing it. I'm so glad you liked it and you're doing the right thing about switching one habit you'd rather not have for one you do want. Being addicted to things that improve you is a good thing. Thanks for reading. =:)

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Kelly, I'm happy you found it helpful. If we all made a habit of things that made us better and forgot how to do the things that don't we would all be singing Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Thanks for the visit and the kind words. =:)

AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

Great Hub. I think as we get older, its easier to know how to break bad habits and stick to them. Its all about having self-control.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi ASB, thank you for coming by--I guess it's you can't teach an old dog new tricks but you can teach them how to stop doing them--I hope it gets easier. I appreciate your comment. =:)

Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

What an excellently written hub! Really well written, full of practical advice and sound information. Thank you.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you SW, I really appreciate your positive words and the visit--all the way from the Isle of Man, you must be exhausted. =:)

robert 5 years ago


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Robert, I really appreciate your comment. =:)

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

I often look back and wish I had made better choices. Why? Probably because of the circumstances I find myself in today. Is it useless to do that? Of course. It's done and cannot be un-done. I've even found myself repeating a bad choice at times, then sit and ask myself why the hell did you do that? I suppose some lessons are harder to learn than others. I have yet to master that the past should be the motivator for future good choices. I've seen the bad.

So, do I sit here and beat myself up because of things I wish I had done differently? No, not really. Things of the past get fleeting moments in my head, and I don't dwell on them. Life is forever a learning process, it doesn't end when you finish school. And, some lessoms are harder than others. What has happened is I've at least achieved an awareness of how and when to do things differently.

My most recent change for the better has been that I've grown my nails. I was a nail-biter ever since I was a kid, and just one day a couple of months ago, I noticed my nails growing, and thought, why not? I have had long nails at times in my past and I loved taking care of them. So now and forever, I will not bite them ever again. I had considered tackling that along with some other things that need changing, and realized, as you mention, taking on too many things can be self-defeating. So, one baby step at a time, and I will get there :)

Wonderful hub!

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Trish, I am so proud of you for "What has happened is I've at least achieved an awareness of how and when to do things differently." Many people spend a lifetime trying to get to that place and many others never get to the baby step of the first real change--the growing of your nails is such a great example.

Not only do you have the satisfaction of a real success with something that has been a long-time struggle, but every time you see them it is a reminder and encouragement for positive change. You have modified a familiar pattern to "habit your way" to the life you want for yourself.

At this time of year I am reminded that our "higher power" also uses the print of nails to remind us that we can finally be all that we were meant to be. =:)

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

Thanks Winsome.

Although my nail biting habit may be inconsequential to anyone but me, as you mention, it has been a lifetime struggle, just as it is with pretty much any life-long habit. For me, this was the easiest one to tackle. Other things I need to do will take more time and work. And, it's certainly not because I don't know how, I do, it's the matter of getting started and staying motivated.

My next step is to get some weight off by August, as that will be the month of my high school reunion. Not that I care much about what others think, but it will be for me so I can feel proud of me.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

I think I will join you Trish. Even though I ride my mountain bike a few times a week, my persistent snacking before bed (did I mention I make killer fudge and chocolate chip cookies?)has made it necessary for me to lose 20 lbs before I can look like Lance Armstrong again.

So here's my deal--as I said above, one of the ways to make a new habit stick is to be accountable to someone. I will post my progress (#lbs lost) as a comment every month on this hub until August 1st. Anyone who would like to join us is welcome to post a comment as well.

Let's "Habit our way!" =:)

Sun-Girl profile image

Sun-Girl 5 years ago from Nigeria

Excellent work which was well researched.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you for the nice comment SG, I notice your articles are thoughtful as well. What was your major in college? =:)

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ctbrown7 5 years ago

Very well done. A very thorough approach to this interesting topic, one that affects everyone.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi CT, I'm glad it was helpful. Thank you for the comment. =:)

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

This was wonderful. l´have so many bad habits, l ´m not sure where to start.

Thank you for all you hard work.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha Dim, you're like me, but we better get started because as Ben Frankliun said: "Our net worth to the world is generally determined by what remains after we have subtracted our bad habits from our good ones."

I think the place to start is the habit that crops up today that you don't like. Don't worry, if you miss an important one that way, it undoubtedly will spring up again another day and you can tackle that one then.

Thank you so much for your visit and for the kind comment. =:)

ImYoungAtHeart profile image

ImYoungAtHeart 5 years ago from midwest US

What a great hub and it gives me the motivation to tackle one of them lol.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, whatever gets you going and keeps you going is all good I say. Thanks IYAH, always great to see you. =:)

JSParker profile image

JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

Voted Up! and Awesome! because it is. This is an outstanding hub, not only for the quality of writing (and proofreading, I might add) but the comprehensive coverage of the topic. Bravo! I think you have covered nearly everything pertinent for the topic, the only thing left for the reader is to DO IT! So I haven't been to the gym in 6 months. I will go right now.

Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

JS that is so nice of you to say those things--very gracious. If we saw our habits as a sort of excelskeleton that holds us up psychologically as well as providing a road to an action, we might be motivated to create a whole support group of them.

I'll be over to see you soon. =:)

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