This post is inspired by a dear friend who shared with me some of her own recent struggles. Thank you!
My friend and I both struggle to break old habits, even when we know they are no longer adaptive. At the same time, there are often long-standing positive habits that seem to be broken easily. What’s the deal with breaking habits and forming new ones?
When I was a child, my family and I prayed before every meal that was enjoyed around a table. We were less prayerful when eating in the car or on the run, but meals in restaurants, at home, and certainly in church began with a prayer of thanksgiving. When I went to college, that long-standing habit stopped abruptly and I have yet to re-dedicate myself to prayer. I pray other times and my prayers are occasionally that I remember to be more prayerful before meals. But then I’m ten bites into a meal before I remember, “I didn’t pray…again.”
I think this goes back to my favorite topic…mindfulness. I allow myself to get so caught up in other people’s needs or my own thoughts that I neglect to take it one moment at a time. If I had, I would remember my vow to pray and would do so before the first bite of food hit my mouth. Mindfulness is a discipline…a habit! It, too, needs to be practiced every day for weeks and months before it becomes so ingrained that we don’t remember any other way of being.
Tell me about your struggles to break old habits and form new ones. Or let me know if you’ve had some success in this area and how you did it. (A string on the finger as a reminder? Post-it notes around the house? Hypnosis?)
Keep struggling one day at a time.
Peace, joy, and health.