Habits of Mind

Do you feel trapped by your habits?

It’s been said that habits begin as cobwebs and end up as chains. Habits are small acts that we do every day. They become a pattern or a routine of our behavior. They can be so ingrained that we don’t even think about them. Some are good—like brushing our teeth, washing our face, bathing, eating. But some are bad—biting our nails, picking our nose (in public), chewing with our mouth open, talking with our mouth full, etc. Sometimes we form habits without really thinking about it. 

The secret to keeping or overcoming habits–either good or bad ones, is the same. It starts with a choice. You can choose to be keep healthy or unhealthy habits. You can choose to workout or just drive by the gym. You can choose to keep your home clean or not-so-clean. Either way, the habits you have, like it or not, have become your habits because somewhere along the line, you made the choice.

After being on my wellness journey for three years, I have chosen to start some good, healthy habits while consciously doing my best to cut out the bad ones.  The good news is, good habits can be helped along and bad habits can be overcome with the right “triggers.” So I’ve set up zones in my home that  encourage me to keep up my healthy habits. Here are some examples:

●     I have the habit of writing things down—things to do, grocery lists, goals, etc. So when I come into my office, I have a pad of paper ready, and the first thing I do is write down three things that I need to accomplish. This keeps me on track to reach my goals and makes me feel productive. Another option is to use the Notes app on your smartphone.

●     I have one chair that I like to use to read my Bible in every day. I like to enjoy my morning cup of coffee in this chair and meditate on what I am grateful for. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and sit here. So when I walk by this chair in my home, it “triggers” in me a desire to stop, take the time to think, and to be thankful. The moments I have spent sitting here help me remember that life is full of positivity and possibilities.

●     Essential oils also help to trigger healthy habits. For example, when I put Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver in my diffuser, my body now knows it’s time for bed. When I use Vetiver only, it tells my body that it’s time to concentrate. Peppermint oil before a workout “triggers” in my body a desire for physical exertion. 

Habits are small choices we make day after day. So consider: what small choices are you making every day? Are they adding up to a beautiful life? Remember: We are what we repeatedly do. A healthy lifestyle, then, is not just an act, but a habit. 

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