Overcoming initial resistance and making good habits habitual

As all of us are probably well aware of, habits make or break us.

So, it’s almost imperative that we inculcate good habits throughout our lives and put in our best effort to be rid of the bad or undesirable ones. 

It’s not difficult to identify good habits using a simple rule: As long as the habit enables us to develop fully as an kind and useful members of society and contribute to the greater good and benefit of mankind as a group, this is a good habit.  A simply gauge to use will be to assess if the component of altruism is present in our present habits. Educating students morally and academically is a good career one can build. Helping the elderly when they are old is another good habit. Saving money for rainy days is a good habit. I believe we are all able to identify good habits for ourselves well.

Hence, this article does not serve to reinforce or reiterate what good habits are. Rather, it has its focus fixated on how to turn good habits habitual and make it permanent such that it becomes a part of our life. The start is always the hardest. This probably explains why New Year Resolutions are often hard to keep. Take for instance, maintaining a regular schedule to do exercises to improve our health. This seems easy at the start as we head for the gym or the track for our workout sessions for the first few weeks. But slowly, as heavy workloads and time constraints takes it toll on us, our exercise session gets less frequent and we soon find ourselves on the couch watching television again. While heavy workloads may be a viable reason, we can remove time constraints as a deterring factor as this has to do with our priorities in life. So, prioritise our health so that we can contribute more to society and the world, and make it a better place for all of us.

Despite all that life has in store for us, how do we make good habits habitual? We have to first overcome the initial mental resistance by attempting to see the positiveness of the good habits. If we are trying to sleep early, tell ourselves that this will give us an alert and healthy head start early the next day. If we are trying to improve our health through exercise, tell ourselves that in the same way that some of the finest written works by authors are edited and polished over years, exercising requires firm and consistent commitment over the span of months to see results. If we want to educate our children to be filial and responsible kids, we need to tell ourselves that we need to start educating them from young. Seeing the benefits of developing good habits is the first step in overcoming initial mental obstacles.

But this is not all. We need to fix a schedule for them.

When it comes to exercising, we need to set aside time and ensure that there are no disruptions to these schedules except when there is an emergency. And we need to have a focus. For stance, if we wish to train the biceps, we need to give it sufficient focus on the arms to see the development of the muscles. Of course, it will be good to exercise on alternate days to allow the muscles to rest and develop. After the biceps have been fully developed, we can move one to another set of muscles. So, having a focus is also important. If the effort is spread out too wide over too many things that we wish to do, it is challenging.

So, see the benefits of the good habits and give it a good focus.

Next, be consistent. Once we are motivated by the benefits of good habits and having given them a good focus, we need to be consistent by sticking to a planned schedule. When it comes to exercising, we should not give up until the particular good habit is acquired, developed and maintained. Over time, we will have better health. 

It can be observed that the longer we can persist in the development of good habits, the easier it is for us to acquire them over time. This also includes tasks and responsibilities that we are asked to oversee in the workplace. While the new job scope may seem unfamiliar, do not despair. With the right mindset of seeing the positiveness of the tasks, giving it sufficient focus and persisting in completing them, we are usually able to draw many insights from the process and the task’s eventual completion than we imagine that we are able. For instance, when an educator trained in English is asked to coach and mentor students in Drama, the new responsibility may seem daunting. But with perseverance and determination, the educator may add yet another accomplishment and experience into his/her resume.  Of course, the assigned new tasks should not be totally foreign to the educator or fall outside the educator’s ability to accomplish them.

So, let us all persevere and work towards identifying, developing and mastering good habits in life.

Environmental Conservation will be a good place to start.


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