This morning I started my day like a lot of you probably do, with a cup of coffee.
I’ve been drinking coffee for years. I don’t even remember how I got started. Perhaps it was the adult thing to do in the morning. Maybe I bought into the idea that the caffeine would give me a spring in my step. It’s possible that mixing milk and sugar with it sold me on how great it tastes.
Coffee has even got its own social events. Have you ever been to a coffee? No doubt you socialized with other intellectuals and talked about brainy stuff.
Or maybe you didn’t.
My coffee habit was formed the same way any habit is. I did it one day, then another, and then another. Eventually a week goes by, then a month, and then a year.
Then the kids are in college and you have great hair on your temples.
Habits are the world’s strongest cords. You weave them a little at a time. You may not even be aware of it as you’re doing it. Then before you even know you have the habit, the habit has got you.
The interesting thing is that any habit, good or bad, is formed in exactly the same way.
Of course, there is one difference. You have to grab a good habit; that is, you have to be intentional about it. For example, if you want to exercise regularly, you have to invest at least 21 days for the habit to get ingrained enough for your body to demand you exercise.
Here are the similarities that both good and bad habits have in the budding stages.
First, you have to fight your old behaviors to establish the habit. For example, if you decide to take up smoking, it may appall you at first. But the more you do it, the less your body fights you. In fact, it starts to accommodate this new behavior.
Then the cords of the habit lock their tentacles around you.
Second, when the habit becomes the norm, there is a payback. You drink coffee because you like the good feeling it gives you in the morning. You smoke because it’s a tension reliever.
The payback is the reason it’s so very hard to break any habit.
Find the payback and you can control your habits.