Do you often find yourself at the door of the refrigerator pondering whether you should eat that cake? Do you want to quit your bad habits, yet just can’t gather the willpower to act on it? How often do you postpone things just because not doing it feels ‘easier‘ than doing it? Or, are you in a relationship that isn’t quite working out, yet you are together because it feels ‘convenient‘?…
You are not the only one.
Most of us know what’s good for us and what’s not. Yet, ‘knowing’ doesn’t always help.
You know going to the gym to get fit would benefit your overall health – but you may not actually go and do it.
You know you should stop smoking, but you tried quitting and it wasn’t easy.
You know getting involved with ‘the wrong crowd’ will get you into trouble, yet you still do it because you don’t know how to get out of it. You think “it’s too late to turn back“, so you keep on going.
You know it’s not working out with your girlfriend anymore, but you want to avoid the drama and the pain of breaking up. So you keep on torturing yourself. You choose the convenience of the relationship you’re used to, over the unknown you would face if you broke up. You know your partner isn’t even treating you well, yet you are still with them because “It feels too hard to leave them“.
We all know you should get your arse off the couch and do something useful with your life… but oh, that’s where the remote was!...
Wanna know what the worst part is…?
You know you’re probably making a mistake, yet you still keep doing it.
If you are making the same mistake over and over again, you’re no longer “making a mistake” – you are doing it intentionally. Whether you want to be in that situation or not doesn’t matter. You have the capability to get out of it, yet you are the one choosing to stay in it.
Once you do this enough times, it stops being a mistake and slowly turns into a bad ‘habit‘ e.g. the habit of being unhealthy, the habit of hooking up with the wrong people, the habit of being with a person you no longer love, the habit of being in a relationship…
Once you have a habit, you are no longer able to choose “what’s good for you” over “what’s convenient for you”.
We always choose our ‘habits’ over others
Staying within the borders of our habits always feels safer and more convenient. This is because we have done those things for so long that we know them inside out. They feel very familiar to us.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that those habits actually are ‘safer‘ or ‘better‘ for us.
The longer you choose to staywithin a habit, the harder it becomes to get out of it – and the more excuses you produce for not getting out of it. Over time, you eventually run out of excuses. Whatever excuse you have left starts sounding unreasonable. Yet, you still carry on wasting your life in a never-ending and ever-repeating story.
Why? It’s because these ‘habits’ can be very hard to spot. You may not even be aware that you have a potentially bad ‘habit’.
Spotting the Invisible Habits
These habits are “invisible” because, under normal conditions, they don’t look alarming. Let’s take the “habit of being in a relationship” as an example.
Relationships are believed to bring love and happiness to our lives. You wouldn’t look at a relationship as something addictive that might cause lung cancer or liver damage – at least in the first instance. Therefore, it wouldn’t even cross your mind that a relationship can become a dangerous habit.
Let’s say you’ve been with your loved one for a long time. At first it was all great and everything went swimmingly. Over time, things changed. Maybe your interest in them diminished. Maybe you still loved them, but didn’t really like them anymore. Maybe you got bored. Maybe everything wasn’t as you would have liked it to be. Maybe both of you changed, and neither of you could no longer find anything in common.
However, because you have been with them for so long, it feels hard to go back and start over again with someone else. Maybe you still love them even if it’s not doing you any good. Maybe you’re afraid of the pain it will cause. Maybe you don’t want to have to rebuild everything all over again. Maybe you’re worried about ‘what others will say’. Maybe you don’t have the courage to open up to your partner and tell them the truth. It is, after all, a very hard topic to talk about. So you keep pushing things to make them work.
Therefore, if we take the definition of “habit” to be:
“… a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up…”
And your situation is:
- You have been unhappy in your relationship for a while
- You have been regularly trying to keep pushing it to work
- You keep making up excuses as to why you are not trying to get out of it
- Because it feels really hard to give up and change things now
… do you see my point?
How do you choose what’s good for you over what’s easy?
There is no shortcut to it. There is no magical swishing of the wand. You need to shake your habits off and really think.
Think of your current situation:
- Are you doing what you want to do? Are you happy with your life?
- What things are you not happy with? Can they be changed?
- Why are you not changing them, then?
- Feel the excruciating dilemma you go through each time you choose “what’s easy” over “what’s best”
Then, think of this future:
- Imagine 20 years ahead, and what your life will be like if you carry on like this. Think of just how much you will be regretting all those years you spent in misery.
- Think how it feels like having a mediocre life which you can’t fully be happy or satisfied with.
- Think of how disappointed you will feel not having fulfilled your dreams.
- Think of all the things you could have changed while you had the chance, but didn’t because it “felt hard“
And then, imagine this future:
- See those chains of habits break and set you free to do whatever you want
- Feel the dilemma that put you through hell disappear
- Imagine having turned a completely new, clean page in your life, ready to do everything you have always wanted to do
- Imagine living the life you always wanted to live, being who you wanted to be
- And imagine how grateful you will feel just because you made that little change in your life many years ago.
What’s keeping you from taking an action now?
Now is your chance.
Now is the only time you can do something about your life habits.
Sometimes, what’s best for us isn’t the easiest thing to do – but it doesn’t give us the excuse to not do anything about it.
Don’t spend your life regretting things you could change now. After all it is your life. If you don’t show the strength to change it yourself, no one is going to do it for you.