As I considered how new habits form, I realized that my most recent good habits were pretty challenging to form… took the whole 14 days, so to say, and I had to consciously consider my will power when going through the exercise of forming my new habit. When was the last time you did something hard and out-of-habit just for kicks? Not that fun, right?
I was catching up with my father last over a game of Bones last week and he mentioned that it was a real challenge no to smoke when you are immersed in places with public smoking being acceptable. He, like many Chinese men of his generation, learned to smoke s a right of passage and almost a requirement of the Chinese army. He quit when I was in the 6th grade and transferred to the “gum”. He then stopped the gum only 2.5 years ago. No nicotine in his body for the past 2.5 years, where there once was… for over 30 years. But there we were, playing dominoes on a cruise ship caisno at the game tabes, as he was being tempted with the constant whiff of cigarette smoke.
“Of course I want one”, my father said, “but if I have even one, then I lose all those years of building the good habit.”
Bad habits come back so quickly. Good habits, on the other hand, seem to be so difficult to form. With the hundreds of decisions you have to make on a daily basis, what do you think is your split of good to bad? Do you always have to say no every time in order to maintain that good habit (like my father decided to do), or do you think that having a little something once in a while is okay?
I’m sure a lot has to do with context (and the addictive nature of your habit), but even more has to do with will power.
Have you tested your will power recently? Do good habits always have to be difficult to maintain?