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Habit Forming

Habits - They're Not Who We Really Are

Habits, like clothing, are external to us, and a product of our choices. We need to choose them carefully, and change them if necessary; to insure that they accurately reflect who we really are, the things that matter most, and the impressions we want to be remembered by.

People often believe that their habits represent their identity, when habits are nothing more than a series of learned behaviors based on our personal choices. They include habits of mind, habits of word, and habits of action. Whether good or bad, these habits are not who we are, but merely reflections of the choices we have made in response to life experiences.

Deep inside your heart there lives the person you really are. Beneath the chosen habits, established patterns, developed attitudes, and environmental influences lives your true self. You may or may not be aware of it, but it is there. Your true self represents your core values, deep beliefs, and natural attitudes about things. This is your true identity.

Many have mistakenly come to believe that their habits are actually who they are. And, because of this, they frequently believe that they just need to accept who they are, or that they cannot really change things very much. In truth, our habits are simply the result of our choices, repeated across time, and can be removed and replaced with other habits if we develop enough awareness to recognize them, make different choices, and develop new habits through the repetition of these choices.

Discovering your habits can help you clarify who you are, and who you are not. When you identify your habits, and separate them from your perception of who you are; then it is much easier to see who you truly are. You may also want to ask trusted friends and family members who have known you since childhood. Ask them about things like compassion, empathy, interests, reactions to critical situations, and beliefs. Then reflect upon these things, along with the things you yourself have discovered; and get back in touch with your natural, beautiful, true self. If you need help with this, then you may want to contact a counselor or spiritual teacher.

So, if you have any bad habits, and if you want to change them; then you need to pay enough attention to become deeply aware of the truth about them, consciously choose not to engage in the thinking, speaking, or acting that supports these undesired habits; replace the bad habits with good habits; and consciously choose to repeat them until they have become established – like actively removing the weeds and nurturing a young plant until it has become strong enough to survive.

Some such bad habits could include anger, hatred, judgementalism, criticism, pessimism, procrastination, gossipping, spreading rumors, and lying. Other bad habits might include dressing seductively to get sexual attention, disrespecting the rights of others, being unfaithful in relationships, interfering in the private matters of others, and over-indulgence. Still others could include drinking too much alcohol, becoming dependent on drugs, eating too much, gambling excessively, or spending money you do not have. And, I’m sure you all could think of many more.

But the good news is that all such habits can be broken, and replaced with healthy, positive ones, if we choose to do so. Habits are not who we are. They are merely a product of our choices.

P. D. Kai Swigart, Ph.D.

Habit Quotations

William James: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Habit is second nature, or rather, ten times nature.
Spanish Proverb: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.

Aristotle: Inspirational Quote on Habit
I say that habit’s but a long practice, friend, and this becomes men’s nature in the end.

Orison Swett Marden: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Man becomes a slave to his constantly repeated acts. What he at first chooses, at last compels.

Jim Ryun: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Ovid: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Nothing is stronger than habit.

Mark Twain: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Stephen Covey: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.

Charles Reader: Inspirational Quote on Habit
Sow a thought, and you reap an act;/ Sow an act, and you reap a habit;/ Sow a habit, and you reap a character;/ Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

Desiderius Erasmus: Quotes on Habits
A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.
Unknown Author: Quotes on Habits
Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

Warren Buffet: Quotes on Habits
Bad habits are like chains that are too light to feel until they are too heavy to carry.

Francis Bacon: Quotes on Habits
Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.

Rob Gilbert: Quotes on Habits
First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.

Dr. Rob Gilbert: Quotes on Habits
First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.

Ancient Proverb: Quotes on Habits
Good habits result from resisting temptation.

Nathaniel Emmons: Quotes on Habits
Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.

Mark Twain: Quotes on Habits
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

Mary Martin: Motivational Quote on Habit
Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes.
Samuel Johnson: Motivational Quote on Habit
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.

Tyron Edwards: Motivational Quote on Habit
Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.

Author Unknown: Motivational Quote on Habit
Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Aristotle: Motivational Quote on Habit
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

John Dryden: Motivational Quote on Habit
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.

Vincent Lombardi: Motivational Quote on Habit
Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Benjamin Franklin: Motivational Quote on Habit
Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.