In my suggested readings section of this site I mention the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I read this book for the first time in the fall of 2014 and I am still a believer. The gist of this book is: change one habit, change your life.
But what if we aren’t even aware of some of our habits? Shit, man, what then?
After I first read “The Power of Habit” I literally only changed one habit from my days and by God it worked!
For years I had a small novel bouncing around in my head, but hadn’t gotten around to writing it. So the one habit I changed was how I spent my lunch break at work. Instead of dicking around on the internet or wandering around the office kitchen I would grab my laptop the minute I clocked out, go to the next door coffee shop, and write for an hour. Every.single.day. And I eventually wrote the little book.
I think of this anytime I feel helpless in life. It’s not always the massive, earthquake-sized shifts that can change our life. It’s often just the small, repeated tasks we do everyday. Small, unassuming, viciously powerful tasks.
But there are habits I’m less aware of and feel less capable of shifting. For example, I struggle hardcore with transition times and criticism. I can feel my anxiety spiral during these moments in life and usually feel incapable of stopping it.
This can pop up when we try to date, as well. More than we probably even realize.
My first few attempts at relationships were not super successful. Somewhere between the lazy-eyed musician who clearly had never been interested in me in the first place and the lazy-eyed recovering addict who happily went months without contacting me I had to take a long hard look at my heart-patterns and my heart-habits. (Also, I guess I have a thing for lazy-eyes).
The problem with patterns and habits is that they are super fucking hard to break. And the experience is generally very uncomfortable and unsettling. Our body, conditioned to a certain experience (good or bad) will probably react in a negative way to new stimuli. Even the most free-spirited of souls are still creatures of habit and will burrow deep into their routine of coziness. We want to stay in warm spot on the couch. It’s comfy, okay?
I know it was hard for me to break my dating habits. For example, dating a man who liked me was HARD at first. Like, genuinely uncomfortable for me. I could feel myself resisting it. I could feel the confusion. The uncertainty. The lack of trust. Every other man I’d lusted over in life had possessed a steady degree of detachment….what was this new “certainty”?
Withdrawal from bad habits is often just as painful as the bad habits themselves. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
Try to identify heart-habits you might have and might want to break. Then take small, powerful steps every single day that bring your closer to the life you dream. Dammit I’m telling you it’s possible.