2007-10-15 7:33 PM

The Power and Peril of Habits

Habits are neither good nor bad by themselves.

New situations require more attention than familiar situations. One of the ways that we make new situations more familiar is through habits. We also use habits as shortcuts. Rather than expending mental energy every morning we have developed habits for getting out the door. We have one place for our keys. We park in about the same place every day.

I’ve written before about the troubles I get myself into when my habitual patterns get interrupted. (Keys locked in the car, lights left on, tasks forgotten.)

What about when other habits play out uninterrupted but no longer serve their intended purpose? I had one of those recently lead to 10 hours of manual labor. As we were finally getting the shared laboratory machine back into service I realized the whole mess was from a misapplied “shortcut” habit.

What can we do to put our habits to best use?

Noticing them is a good step.
Analysing how well they currently serve our needs is another.
Ending counterproductive habits is also useful.

I suggest starting with the easiest to notice such as verbal habits or guestures. Start small and build up positive momentum before you tackle the big world-changing habits.

What habit will you end today? What more useful habit will you use to replace it?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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