Habits are behaviors we perform on a daily or otherwise regular basis. They are not just any behaviors, though. A behavior is a habit if some component of it is at least somewhat “automatic.” Some studies estimate that habits make up over 40% of our everyday behavior. Since we spend almost half our lives on autopilot, learning how to shape and leverage habits to our benefit can have a huge impact. Another definition of a habit is: A routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Habit, from the standpoint of psychology is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience. Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory. Almost every habit that a person has— good or bad — is the result of many small decisions over time. And if this is true, if the problems he/she is facing now is the result of thousands of small decisions made over the course of years, then wouldn’t it make sense that path to success, health, strength, joy, fulfillment, meaning, and vitality would also be through thousands of daily decisions? And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change. When someone becomes obsessed with achieving a result quickly, the only thing he/she thinks about is how to get to his/her goal, and he/she forgets to realize that his/her process for achieving goals is just as important as whether or not he/she achieves them at all. The desire to achieve results quickly fools us into thinking that the result is prize. Becoming the type of person you want to become — someone who lives by a stronger standard, someone who believes in themselves, someone who can be counted on by the people that matter to them — is about the daily process you follow and not the ultimate product you achieve. Habits include both physical and mental behavior. These daily habits unconsciously control our lives. Our daily habits, as boring as they may be, are the secret to success, failure, or mediocrity. Our habitual behaviors, both physical and mental, and the choices we make are the cause of wealth and poverty. Those who learn good daily habits from their parents, a mentor, or through the school of hard knocks, excel in life. Their lives are outstanding. They rule the world. They command respect, make most of the money in this world, and control the lives of millions who do not have good daily habits. Our daily habits are the reason we live in a beach house or a slum.
How habits benefit a person: “Script your life: Self- made millionaires do not stumble into success. They are not passive beneficiaries of some incredible stroke of good luck. The journey toward success always starts with a vision. A vision of the person you want to be and the life you want to have for yourself and your family. Our lives are largely structured by our habits. For example, the job we have is the product of a set of habits we developed to gain the skills to be qualified for that job. Now we have habits that allow us to continue our work, from getting dressed in the morning, to our commute to work, to the way we handle the tasks at our job. We create habits to get us what we want, and to maintain what we have.
These habits can become deeply ingrained in us, to the point where they are subconscious. We go through the motions of these habits without thinking about it. It’s just how we live. However, not all of our habits help us. Some of those subconscious processes can hinder us when we want to make important changes in our lives. A habit that serves you where you’re at won’t always help you get to where you want! The solution is to change, but how do we do it? Well, this is the ultimate question! Often when we try to make changes in our lives, they are surface level decisions. We wake up one morning; try putting on our clothes and find that they don’t fit like they used to. So we decide that we want to lose weight. We were triggered and now we want to make a change. So we look for something to add to our lives: a workout program, a brand new diet. We try and add this to our lives without looking at how we reached the weight we’re at. What habits led to this? What is it I’m already doing that I can change, remove or replace to help accomplish my goal? The truth is that we may see some success by starting that exercise program, but if we’re still eating too many calories and a ton of processed food, as soon as we stop or slow down that exercise, we’re going to begin back-pedaling and end up right back where we started. We don’t want that. We want meaningful change, and meaningful change starts with introspection and honest consideration. It starts with asking ourselves the real questions and identifying those habits! If you want lasting change in your life, acknowledge what it is you want to change, identify and question your habits. And then change and adapt those habits so they begin to serve you and your goals!
(The author is a teacher at Govt High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)
Inclusive Education: Realities Issues and Challenges