I’ve read it a zillion times before and I do agree with the statement: people are quite often creatures of habit.
Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. – George Boardman
As people, we like rhythm. We like continuity. We find solace in repetition and regularity. The seasons have rhythms. Mother Nature has rhythms. Why we should expect human beings to also not be cut from this very same cloth?
However, as human beings we get, in many ways, the opportunity to self-determine our own patterns. This means that reflection can give us a chance to take stock, adjust and improve our circumstances. If the patterns and habits we have set in motion for ourselves – or our students, or our children – are functioning well and flowing in a manner which we feel good about, then often we find ourselves in situations we enjoy. Circumstances that are meaningful. We taste happiness now and then. And if not, then we’re often frustrated (if not downright angry, bitter, cynical and jaded).
But our attitudes are our own choice.
I don’t know if I have become my own best friend in this world, but at this age I certain have halted the war I once waged against myself whereas I was pretty much my own worst adversary. It’s something which age has delivered – and WOW, am I thankful. The demons of youth have lost their hold on my soul… but that only happened as a result of me changing the manners by which I conducted myself in this world. I changed my daily habits and often when I look around at the reasons why so many people feel vexed, I see that they are often self-sabatuers. It’s not that we really need to do more to improve our lives; often if we did less of that which is hurting us, we’d make great strides.
My own experience has directed me towards this belief. It was the things I gave up, the things I stopped doing which opened the doorways. Kinda zen-like, I’ve found.
However, other times we must do more, too. Especially when we are doing less of one thing, we find space which requires filling. So what do you do? What habits shape your day, your week, your month, your year, your decade, your life?
Look, some people get up and jog at 5:00 am. Some do not. Some get up and write at 5:00 am. Some do not. Some people get up and pray, some get up and surf, and some do not get up at 5:00 a.m. at all. Ever.
Choice gets you up once. Habits get you up at this hour 6 days a week.
Covey talks at length about habits. (And he’s shaped my own thinking a lot.) So being that my tooth has lengthened that much more I must recognize the fact that my life is now in its patterned motion for what might very well be the most instrumental years of my life. That means my day to day choices – my habits and patterns – matter a lot. For example, if I want to feel good about my body, exercising and making good food choices have to now be a day in and day out reality for me… or else they stand a good chance of becoming be an empty pipe dream that “one day I’ll be in shape”.
If I want to write that next book (or a first book on a new subjecy) is my butt in a chair actually writing a book? These are the days in which it better.
If I want to be in a sound financial situation, am spending and earning and saving in a manner which can actually build wealth?
Perhaps I want to learn Portuguese. Am I underway? (BTW, I don’t.)
Perhaps, I want to be a more involved parent? Do my current actions demonstrate a dedication to this desire? (I hope they do.)
We’re all creatures of habit, provided with the dual-edged gift/sword of freedom of choice. (For the most part, that is. Life will still happen to us, complete with its elations and sadness, hopefulness and heartbreaks.) But not to choose to pursue that which you really want is to choose to not have that which you really want. I think I’ve learned that, too.
Yep, I am 44 today. (Please, thanks for the well-wishes but sending me a note when I hope to take the day off from checking the computer is just gonna clog the ol’ pipes… I’m playing hookey and heading to Disneyland with my family.)
But I do recognize that the patterns in motion now will be the ink that etches my life’s pages.
And how many pages do any of really get anyway?
Mortality… deliberating it is what sends me to Disneyland. A few rides, a ton of smiles and a bunch of yummy treats feel like a “just what the doctor ordered” type of prescription for me today.