Writing posts for this blog has become second nature after doing it so long. A habit, you might say. And yet… well, I find it interesting that during this week when I intended to write about habits that I completely forgot about writing a post until well into the afternoon yesterday.
In any event, I’ve been thinking about habits – both good and bad – as I have Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business on my reading list and have been checking out various articles on the topic. In just about every mention of the book, the example of the American habit of brushing teeth comes up.
It’s amazing to me that 100 years ago hardly anyone brushed his or her teeth. Seems hard to imagine, doesn’t it? But it’s true. It wasn’t a habit that we had, collectively, at the time. It took a brilliant marketer to figure out how to make it a habit for a nation – and for generations. What an impact.
If the habits of an entire country can be changed, I imagine that the habits in my life could be changed as well. Bad habits could be discarded. Good habits could be created. Even more intriguing, if one individual could persuade so many people to change their habits, maybe there’s a way that I could influence the habits of other people as well. And given that, who has influenced my habits?
This is all relevant because anything that we do out of habit draws less from our willpower, leaving more of that available to us for the tough stuff we need to get through every day.
So what is a habit and what should become one? We’ll learn more about that together this week.