Force of habit
Day seventeen of our 2020 Coast-to-Coast Adventure: Kearny, KS. We stopped at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery for our two o’clock brunch. When my omelette came, “Whoops!” I was surprised to see ham. The waitress looked at it and said, “Oh, you’re right. There is ham in there.” Then she made this insightful statement. We’ve all said it, but I wonder if we’ve understood it’s full import. This is what she said, “It must’ve been force of habit.”
Have you heard the statement, “we make our habits, and then our habits make us?” Your habits control your life. Habit decides if we are earlier or later, neat and tidy, or sloppy and unkempt. As I say in Session One of the Leadership Development Lab™ (LDL), without realizing it, men start shaving, and ladies begin putting on their lipstick from the same place, following the same patterns every day. You follow the same pattern each morning as you brush your teeth, and the list goes on. When I ask audiences to name a habit, the first thing I usually hear is “good or bad.” That’s a judgement about the nature of habit. Then someone will say smoking or dipping Copenhagen. These are behavior habits. When we think of habits, we almost always think of behavior habits.
My waitress was referring to the cook’s behavior habit of putting ham in omelettes. There are two additional kinds of habits: attitude habits and self-image habits. Attitude habits are the way you feel about your work, the people around you and your life in general. Self-image habits are how you see yourself. You were born with zero habits two or three instincts, but zero habits. Over time, you have developed hundreds, maybe, thousands of habits. We relegate our repetitive activities to habit.
Most of your habits are good. I’m certain of this. I’m also certain that for your life to improve in any material way your relationships, your health, your career, your wealth, some of your habits must change. Not all of them, but some of them. It’s not enough to get more information.
Developing new habits is not easy. Remembering the “force of habit,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What I need is someone who will make me do what I can do.” You need a support person. You need to tell a trusted friend. Or better yet, put together a mastermind group, made up of a few selected friends you have coffee with who meet weekly. In How to Turbocharge You: 6 Steps to Tap Your True Potential, I describe the nature of and how to form a mastermind group. Ask your mastermind partners to follow up to check in on your progress. As you take steps forward, advance, grow, and develop, new habits are formed. You’ll have the force of new and improved habits on your side.
it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
– Albert Einstein