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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Breaking Habits

Habit is a topic that has always intrigued me. Because the human brain is such an exquisite pattern-making machine, habits can be easy to establish but hard to break. Putting aside any judgments about them, what have been some of your longest running habits? Exclude any that are widely considered detrimental and any with a physical component - smoking, gambling, excessive drinking. Of those that remain, which of your long-running habits do you think would be easiest to break? 

Although I don't recall exactly when I abandoned the long running habit of reading the comics before any other section of the newspaper, I do recall it being easy to do so. In fact, it was so easy, I didn't recall ever being in that habit until recently when I watched someone search for the comics first, soon after the paper was delivered. As it happens, I also can't recall why I started reading the comics initially, harmless as the habit is. I only remember I did it for many years and then stopped with no difficulty.

"TV is very educational for me. Whenever someone turns it on, I go into the next room and read a book." - Groucho Marx

Although watching TV has never been a priority for me, I have been in the habit of watching 60 Minutes since it first came on the air. I suspect breaking that habit would be much more difficult for me than giving up the comics. How about you? Which of your long running habits do you suppose would be hardest to break?


3 comments:

  1. Hello again, Pat. I hope this post finds you well. I guess I am something of a creature of habit. In one particular case, I would call it a superstition.
    My habits - I wake up early in the morning to take care of our dog - put him in the yard, give him his treat, feed him, etc. I say good morning to him in the same manner, give him his food in the same order, and always put down clean water in the kitchen first. To be honest, he may be more of a creature of habit that me - lol. My newspaper ritual .. For as long as I can remember, it's been the NY Daily News. Sports Section, Main News, Opinion and Op/Ed Pieces, Comics and Horoscope. Every day, in the same order. The only change is having switched from a physical paper to an e-version and reading it on my iPad or Mac.
    My superstition ... I have a pre-performance ritual, when I'm doing a play, that I've done since I was in HS. I get into costume and make-up early, and will walk the empty stage, look at the set, and say my lines - out loud if possible - before the house opens to the audience. It has always helped release tension/jitters and get me in character.
    As for TV - My wife and I share a love for Sit Coms. We'll watch those rather than any of the more serious 'Taken from the Headlines' types of shows. Reality can be difficult enough.
    Interesting subject ... Thanks.
    Be Well. Stay Safe,
    Bob

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    1. RRGRMG; Thanks for your comprehensive comment. In my mind, habits - especially mindless ones - are not far removed from what you call superstitions. And, all of us are "...creatures of habit..." to one degree or another. When we fail to recognize we're relying on habit - instead of being mindful - there is the potential for habit/superstition to take over parts of our life. That fine line between mindless habit and mindfulness is easy to overlook but paying attention to that line, in my experience, can yield great benefits, not least of which is being more present in moments.

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