The Making or Breaking of a Habit

This sign reminded me of all those things my Mom taught me growing up. Wash your hands, look both ways before crossing the street, brush your teeth, clean your plate, make your bed, the kitchen isn’t clean until everything is put away.  All those little habits we do now without thinking. The habits that started while we were young and have carried us into adulthood. If your Mom was like mine, she was kind yet firm in making us learn these things. There was a purpose to her education and a reason why she knew we had to know how to do these tasks. 

When we were young she started us on this path. She taught us one at a time, then held us accountable once the skill had been mastered. Once you knew how to look both ways, you were expected to do it without prompting. And when you forgot, she reminded you and did not let you cross until you looked. These life skills once learned helped us navigate the world, or be thankful for our abundance, or understand a job well done. They serve as a foundation for so many habits of excellence and safety we live each day. I find myself teaching these things to the next generation. What has served me well will in turn serve the next generation. I do it basically the same way, one step at a time. Once the skill is mastered, I then hold them accountable to do it without prompting.

When I saw this sign it also made me think of the things I have wanted to do that did not become habits. They were good ideas, or best practices, maybe even habits I hoped to gain that never ‘took’. So why did I learn the ones my Mom taught and the others did not cement themselves into my being? Was there no one to push me? Was I too lazy? Did the habit never translate from good idea into solid practice? Or did I lack some motivation or reason for them to become habits? It may be a combination of all of these things, and more. 

What habits do you have that have been part of who you are for so long that you may not even remember life without them? Are they good or bad habits? Ones that move you forwrad ot ones that tear your world apart? Who taught you those habits? And have you ever tried to break the bad ones? 

The point is that some habits we practice everyday, and others were good ideas that never made it as a habit. Some habits make our life better, and others prevent us from being our best self. We too often fall victim to our habits, not realizing that we have the power to build or break them…just like they have the power to build or break us. Maybe Mom was right. Maybe her methodology was the reason certain habits stuck…she told us and showed us, reminded us, then scolded us, and in the end molded us. 

What habit do you want to build? What habit do you want to break? If you tell someone what you want and ask them to hold you accountable, you might be surprised how the habit lives or dies. They can remind oyu like she did so many years ago. ‘Mama says’ are two very powerful words, so use them wisely. 

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