The big secret about habits is that they have enormous power in our lives. Habits actually run our lives since we do them all the time.
The best example of a habit running our lives is the habit of your morning routine during the week. Most mornings you do the same thing to get ready for school everyday. You may turn on the TV, or music while getting ready in the morning. You do this almost every time you get ready for school.
If you walk or drive to school you take the same route everyday. You do these habits so much that everything just becomes automatic and you don’t even think of what you are doing. You have passed all control to your subconscious mind to allow these actions to become habits.
That is all OK if the habit is a good one. What if you have habits that are not so good? What if you have a habit of always waiting until the last minute to leave for school?
The good thing is that habits can be changed. Getting rid of a habit is not always easy. It’s like trying not to think of that big blue elephant. The more you try not to think about it, the more you actually DO think about it. The trick is to focus on something totally different.
When it comes to habits and actions, you will want to focus on what to do instead of focusing on what not to do. This takes time and takes knowing where to focus your energy.
Think about it: What is a bad habit that you have that doesn’t help you move forward?
habits serve you
The wisest thing you can do is to believe that you are unstoppable and have unlimited possibility. The way to achieve this is to use habits.
The two habits that you have are habits that are helping you grow, and those that hold you back. Habits that help you grow will always lead you to success.
Habits that hold you back will always make you its slave. You will always be subject to this habit and will feel helpless against it. That habit doesn’t serve you at all — you serve it. Here are some examples of habits that make your grow and habits that hold you back:
• Facing difficult feelings is a growing habit. Avoiding difficult feelings is a bad habit.
• Looking for the best in people is a growing habit. Expecting the worst is a bad habit.
• Looking at the positive side of a challenge is a growing habit. Complaining is a bad habit.
• Giving something your best shot is a growing habit. Giving up is a bad habit.
Think about it. Did you take on a challenge today? Did you find the best in someone?
Take small steps to create new, better habits
Here are a few action steps that you can do to create good habits that will help you in school and any activity that you take on:
• Create a schedule. You are busy and have a lot of school activities. A schedule will help you block out time to finish homework on time.
• Do things ahead of time. Do not wait until the last night to study before a test. Start studying three to four days in advance. Do your homework as early as you can. Do your homework at the same time everyday.
• Don’t get down on yourself. If you have bad habits, look at ways you can make small changes to eliminate them. If you do the same thing for three weeks, it will become a habit.
• Determine what is a “need” and what is a “want,” If you feel that you must do something because it makes you feel good or is fun then it probably is a “want” instead of a need. If that something doesn’t push you forward, then it can wait.
Think about it. What small steps can you take to eliminate a bad habit. What do you see as a “want” that you need to eliminate?
Giving up a habit that you don’t want isn’t easy. You can’t just stop doing something without some effort. You can’t wish a habit away. It is much easier to start a new habit that eventually becomes strong enough to replace the old habit.
You first must know what the habit is that you want to change. If you don’t know, sometime you just need to stop and look at yourself. Reflection on your life and where you want to go is a start.
Take a look at what makes you happy and what is positive in your life. This reflection is the start of taking stock of your life and the beginning of creating new and better habits.
Because habits are so powerful in our lives, we should always be taking a look at ourselves and what we are doing. Is this habit pushing us forward or holding us back?
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michael Bond is the owner of Ahwatukee-based 1st Place Tutoring. His company assists students in grades K-12 with math, reading and science, and has SAT/ACT test preparation classes for high school students. Reach him at (602) 751-3594, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.1stplacetutoringaz.com.