Do you still do things the same as you did as a child? I do. I still eat cereal every morning. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. As I’ve started to make some health changes recently I looked at the nutrition label of my cereal boxes. I have always just had cereal. The commercials and ads all say they are healthy and give you all day energy right? Some of them might give you more than others but the biggest thing I’ve found is how much sugar they all have. Yes, most kids cereal is all about sugar because what kid doesn’t like sugar? So I started contemplating what I could do in the morning which would be a better option.
This got me thinking, as it has been rather hard to figure out something, what else have I done for so long that I don’t think about? I started noticing people telling me every so often, “It’s how I grew up”, or “This is how I’ve always done it.” So many things we grow up with end up being our long time habits we don’t think about. It’s how our parents and grandparents did it. My observation is that we all have things we’ve done for so long that we don’t even think about it, nor have we ever considered doing it a different way. Then someone comes along who grew up doing it a different way and we immediately think they’re wrong. I’d bet they would tell you you’re wrong too for the same reason.
What would happen if you didn’t get defensive about something and consider that there might be a different or maybe even better way of doing something. I can’t help but think how fast things change now days with research and technology that maybe there are better ways (possibly more efficient) to do things than our parents and grandparents did it. Not that they were wrong and sometimes the old ways do work better in the end. Have you ever considered changing a habit? Trying that new thing?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of some of these things on multiple accounts. Changing habits we’ve had since childhood are difficult. I’ve had a nasty habit of pimple popping from a young age and its a really hard habit to break. Are there any nail biters in the house? I know of a couple. Maybe you’ve always made a recipe a certain way or with a specific ingredient because your parents and grandparents always did it that way. Maybe you’ve had the same routine in the morning or evening for so long that you won’t even consider changing it up if it would mean a better morning and being more efficient.
There are many different examples and I won’t even go to some of the “hot topic” things that our parents and grandparents did. I do however, challenge you to consider being more open minded about suggestions people give you. Has something been developed in the last X number of years that might serve you better now? Maybe the current way no longer applies to your current lifestyle. Or maybe there is some newer research that now shows better longer term results about something.
I’ve heard people ask, “what’s wrong with the old way?” Well, nothing. However, think about this question. You’re not a kid anymore, you don’t look like you did as a kid for the most part. You’re body probably doesn’t function like it did when you were a kid. But some people are determined that their habits should be the same.
Some are very close minded when it comes to making changes in their lives. Maybe they are afraid of the judgement they may face or disapproval from someone they love. Who knows the reason. Maybe figuring out the triggers that lead to the habits is too much work. Or maybe we’ve just had something hammered in to us for so long that “it is what it is.” When maybe that doesn’t have to be the case.
Am I saying that everybody does things wrong? Absolutely not. I’m trying to challenge people to think differently, be more open. I have been one to get defensive about things for a long time and its been a very hard habit to break and I’m still a work in progress. There have been some times recently that I’ve been caught by myself or someone else. When I’ve stopped to consider the alternative, well they might have been right.
Old habits die really hard. Like really hard. It will always be hard to change something that has been engrained into you for years, or decades. Just think about the possibilities if you’d decide to change something, or multiple things.
Since a habit can connected to a belief or the way you were raised, that may mean being ok with a little criticism from someone for shifting that belief. Being stuck in older ways is not bad but not always a good thing. Otherwise……
Here are some tips that I’ve found work for making and breaking habits:
1.All about triggers. Triggers are the activities, things or thoughts that initiate your subconscious to do things. For me, stress or boredom cause me to pick at my face. My alarm clock triggers me to make my coffee in the morning, lay on my inversion board, and then listen to my devotional followed by journaling. And in that order. Cleaning up dinner triggers me to make my pods for the coffee so that its ready to go in the morning. Getting in the car triggers me to get out my phone and pick a podcast
2. Find a pain point for bad habits. Some people put cayenne pepper outside where they don’t want a dog to dig because it burns their nose. Snap a rubber band on your wrist to trigger your brain before you do something you want to break.
3. Find something or someone to hold you accountable. Find someone who will expect a text after you’ve exercised so that you don’t want to disappoint them or receive a text that will make you disappointed in yourself that you have to tell them you haven’t done it.
4. We all have phones, use your reminders and your calendar. (I have 3 calendars for this reason) Set reminders and alerts so that every time you look at your phone, you see the reminder. But don’t automatically hit complete. Leave it there so that you have to be reminded every time that you haven’t done it yet. Sometimes life will happen and you’ll have it be flexible. But you don’t have to let yourself off the hook
One thing to note, habits take time and effort to form or break. You will most likely screw up, and fall off the wagon. There is something to be said for giving yourself grace but still holding yourself accountable. We don’t have to stay off the wagon when we fall off, just need to hop back on.