Habits and discipline

Habits and discipline.
This series is about those basic daily steps when we’re trying to live life in some new way, make changes, try to improve somehow, try to make our life more full of good things.
A lot of it has to do with habits: establishing good habits, breaking bad habits and replacing them with new ones.
These habits, these little things that we do over and over again: they train us, they mould us into who we become.
It does seem like in a very real way we do become what we do.
If we repeatedly do good things, we become something good, and if we repeatedly do bad things, we become something bad.
So establishing new habits is one of the most powerful ways to change.
Especially because once we establish the habit, it gets kind of locked in.
I mean, of course, it’s never automatic forever that it could never change, but it becomes very easy to repeatedly do something once it’s established as a habit.
It’s almost like we can do something with basically no effort.
And if it’s a good thing, then that makes it very easy to do good things.
Of course, it also makes it very easy to do bad things.
So all this is in the world of habits and discipline.
So the first thing to look at is, well, what do we even want to make as a habit? What do we want to choose to program ourselves with? We have this ability to program ourselves to carry out regular activities almost like a robot.
It’s like we can program ourselves like a computer or robot to do these certain tasks.
So what is it that’s really worth programming ourselves to do? Often I find that I just like to look at one day at a time, just look at what can I do to somehow today make something better, to somehow improve the situation? And that’s in many ways the beginning of living a disciplined life for me, is to have that attitude of “I want to improve my life today, somehow.” Somehow make things better.
If there’s things I’ve been putting off, things that I’ve been avoiding that I know will probably make life better, then today is the time to do them and not put them off any further.
So not always exactly habits, because they’re not always repeated, but it’s that attitude of discipline, of doing useful things.
And maybe that’s the habit itself.
Simply the habit of wanting to make good changes in life and spending time every day to do the things that we know will make life better: that in itself can be the most basic habit.
Now, no habit is automatically good or bad.
It’s really about how it serves life.
So choosing our habits based on what serves us.
It’s like we’re programming ourselves like robots, but the purpose is not to be a robot.
There’s no end in itself being a robot.
These are only ways to help make the life we want easier, make it easier to achieve what we want to do.
So once we’ve chosen these habits, some habit that we want to develop, it’s then a matter of how do we establish it? And of course, it’s the beginning of the habit is the most difficult, when it’s not established at all.
We have to start training ourselves from scratch, and it’s like building a road.
Sometimes described, you know, a habit is like a very established road, like a whole paved highway.
And trying to establish a new habit, going down that path is like digging and clearing a new path.
So that’s the kind of trailblazer mentality of I’m going down a new path, I’m building a new habit.
And at the beginning it’s just like crowded jungle, forest, rough terrain.
We have to make a path through it, because we’ve never been there before.
We’re starting something new.
And then as it’s repeatedly walked and travelled, that route, we gradually clear the path, it gradually becomes a clear road.
And then eventually as an established habit, becomes easy to walk down.
We can have other tricks we can use to make habits easier, such as the way we design our environment, filling our environment and designing our environment in a way that makes doing what we want to do easier and doing what we don’t want to do harder.
That can be just that little nudge that can make everything easier.
And then there’s the maintenance of habits, as they’re always fading away.
That we can easily kind of let habits drop and maybe fade back into other habits that are established before.
So we build the new path, then we get excited about building the new path, we’re doing things the new way, but then oh, get a little bit lazy and start walking on the old road again.
So all these together, using these kind of techniques and approaches: it’s a very practical thing, it’s a very pragmatic thing, just trying to make doing good things easier, and making there be less resistance against what we want to do.
But in the end, this is only a tool.
It’s only a means to an end. […]
And so there’s a limit to how far we can just regiment ourselves in discipline, because this discipline and these habits are there to serve life. […]

#habits #discipline #buildhabits

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