I’ve posted before about the concept of habits and habit forming. I’ve been thinking about it a bit more in the prevailing atmosphere of New Year’s resolutions, Dry January and so on.
I’ve found it fascinating learning that we form physical neural pathways in our brains when we repeatedly perform an action (there was a really good blogpost on this somewhere, will link if I can find it again). And I loved Belle’s podcast about the little chick in the grass being brave enough to jump off the superhighway and make its own cowpath.
What I’ve been thinking about lately is specifically how I can harness this power of habit and make it work for me. A bit like getting the kids to do all the washing up after Sunday lunch. But with less shouting.
I have been dragged about by the heels by my habits for most of my life. Food, unsuitable men, smoking, drinking.
The power it took for me to keep drinking was immense. And yes, there is/was a physical addiction, but I believe that the primary force driving me to walk to the fridge at 6.03pm and open that bottle of wine was habit. So if I can put that immense force to work for me, rather than against me, suddenly I am not fighting against a tide but flowing downstream with it.
And forming those new habits is achievable because it is one action at a time. I can do one thing today and it will make my life easier tomorrow. Interestingly I now feel that very same feeling of ‘phew’ when I have my cranberry juice and tonic at 6pm instead.
I am a constant self-examiner and would quite like to get myself completely fixed and sorted by yesterday, please.
But habits take time to form, so I will give myself the blessing and luxury of however long it takes.