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September 6, 2017

Make It A Habit

Dear Friend,

Our habits define our lives. They become our emotional responses and automatic reflexes which are just like the blinking of our eye. There is one important difference however; we can change our habits.

Likes and dislikes, attitudes and idiosyncrasies, and the varied scale of emotional responses are reflexes that operate like bodily functions. They are similar to blushing when we feel embarrassed or the pounding of our heart or the breaking out in perspiration when we are suddenly frightened.

Even our intellectual attitudes toward the political and social issues of our times are under the automatic influences we possess. These reflexes are also conditioned and are as automatic as the secretions of our glands or the functions of our organs and muscles. By repetition of the same associations over and over. The associations become involuntary and an integral part of our personality.

Having success encourages repetition and failure discourages it. Therefore by repetition success usually becomes part of our personality as a conditioned reflex and of course the same process in reverse with failure. If we want to establish a habit, we must repeat the same action over and over until it becomes an automatic process: the same path with thoughts that is, we can condition our own thoughts to evoke a specific response. Patient and consistent repetition will accomplish the desired result. It is the basis of all training.

People have difficulty changing habits because they think of changing in terms of “will power” needed to change. The best way to change a bad habit is by substituting a bad habit with a good one.

To break a habit, repetition is also the key. Each time a bad habit suggests itself we must resist, and each time the habit is successfully resisted the habit becomes weaker and the resistance therefore easier. But since a conditioned reflex is not a conscious action and often reveals itself before we are aware of it, we must learn to be on guard. We must become aware of our feelings and be prepared to substitute a new action for the old one.

So now that we know what we have to do to break a bad habit – How do we do it? The first step is to make a “decision to do it”. Then take little steps away from our old pattern to weaken it, while each little step toward a new pattern strengthens your decision to change.

Reconditioning is changing old habits by relinquishing old attitude for new ones. The goal of change must be kept in mind all the time. If we want to keep the new habit automatic, we should have a plan to follow for replacing the old one. Only lack of a plan or self confidence will keep you from your desired goal change. Many times not reaching your goal change is the result of giving up  your efforts too soon or approaching the goal too haphazardly.

The course of life is change. All of us attempt to weed out destructive attitudes and struggle to replace them with more acceptable behavior. Our lives are a continuous process of adapting to new change in our conditions which means that in many little and un-dramatic ways throughout life we make and break habits.

Most of what is said above we all know to some extent. I just think it’s important for us to be reminded that we are what we think and do and that we have the power within ourselves to be what we want to be.

“I think, therefore I am.” ….Make it a habit

Your friend,

Stu

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