Habits


“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window…but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” - Mark Twain

Whenever I decide to do something, to make a change or a move, I make it in a big way. Whether it be a career decision, a diet, or a new exercise program I attack it with a vengeance. I set a date. I prepare. I tell everyone about my new plan. If it is a diet, I make sure to clean my shelves so they are free of temptation (usually by eating all the temptations). If it is a work project, I clean my desk, set up my paper, and put new files on my computer. Announcing my plan for a new and better self, I attack my new way of living with abandon. It consumes me. It is all I talk about, think about, and dream about.

What happens? It fails. Why? Because the change is too drastic, the diet, work, or project cannot be sustained by my lifestyle, personality, or habits. It’s just too big for me to hold on to. Mark Twain is right. I once had a messy linen closet. It bugged me. Every time I opened it I would vow to spend a day cleaning it out. That never happened. Then a good friend told me how each week she cleans one kitchen drawer or closet shelve. I decided to follow her lead! Each week I cleaned one shelf in my linen closet. Within a couple of months I had the neat closet of my dreams. I coaxed it downstairs a step at a time!

This week I think I’ll eat more fruit, write an hour each morning, and straighten up that kitchen drawer. One step at a time!

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