Old Habits Die Hard...

Habits are a funny thing. Once we gain them, we never really lose them. Sure, we can override our patterns with new ones, but the original association always remains with us. When it's a "good" habit, that's really not a bad thing; when it's a "bad" one, though -- that's what can get us into trouble.

I've done a lot of work, personally, on the habits that I consider "bad" in my life -- toxic negativity, complaining, and analysis paralysis, just to name a few. I've come a long way in writing better stories to default to, and become better at making choices that are healthier for me. The thing is, we've all got triggers that send us back into old routines. No matter how much work we do on creating better, healthier, more positive habits, if the perfect storm comes along, there's a chance we'll fall back into our own ways.

Often, it's the pressures of stress and anxiety that attempt to unravel all of the fine work we've done creating a healthy mindset. The right amount of pressure can cause even the most honest person to become dishonest, so it's no surprise that it could cause us to dig up old, potentially destructive behaviours that we hoped to erase.

Naturally, awareness of the situation is the key to catching ourselves as we fall back into old loops. The problem is that, depending on what's going on, our minds have a really difficult time actually being aware of what they're doing. Awareness takes a very long time to become exceedingly proficient at, and there are going to be a number of times in our lives when it doesn't respond as quickly as we'd like. A big step in conquering this: accepting that it's alright.

It's alright that we slip up from time to time. No matter how aware we are, it's incredibly difficult to master ourselves at all times. The desire for ultimate control can become toxic in itself. Rather, it's about learning to catch ourselves quicker and quicker each time the slip happens. Habits are all about repetition, and it takes a long time to build them. In the process, we have to be able to give ourselves a break and recognize that we are fallible and setbacks do happen. As long as we're committed to falling less and less backwards, then we're headed in the right direction.

We are all imperfect, and have our difficulties. It's important that, in addition to building and honing our awareness, that we also develop the capacity to forgive ourselves. Because we slipped backwards a few steps does not undo all the amazing work we've done moving forward. Old habits die hard, and with a commitment to awareness and self-forgiveness, we're arming ourselves with the tools necessary to take fewer and fewer steps back in our lives.

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