Habit garden

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 22, 2015, 6:12 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 9:47 am IST
A more important factor may be that you live in an unhealthy atmosphere or a place where your bad habit is socially acceptable
Representational image
 Representational image

The mind is like a garden. Good habits can be considered as flowers, butterflies and fountains while bad habits are like weeds, rocks, stones. Obviously if good habits are installed and bad ones are removed, a person would be transformed.

Many of us blame ourselves for our lack of commitment and determination. A more important factor may be that you live in an unhealthy atmosphere or a place where your bad habit is socially acceptable. If you believe you cannot change, you have a fixed mindset. A flexible mindset, on the other hand, will lead you to believe that you can learn, improve, change and take off to a different level.

 

So, how do we create a climate where we can succeed? Redesign your environment to support the good habits. If your weak spot is sweets and chocolates, don’t stock them at home.

Abolish oily snacks from your kitchen. Limit the amount of oil and sugar you use on a weekly basis. B.J. Fogg calls it designing for laziness. Get someone to switch off the lift, so that you have to climb the stairs. Stock your alcohol in a cupboard, which you have to use a ladder to reach.

Now, let us look at building good habits. Choose a habit that is so easy that you cannot refuse to do it. For instance, agree to exercise for one minute every day. Choose an exercise you can do before you get out of bed. Do this for a week. Then add another. If you want to eat healthy, eat one healthy meal this week. If you wish to write a novel, decide to write five sentences on a selected subject every day.

All these beginning points will become magnets for more intense activity as you go along. Prove to yourself that you can stick to a tiny habit for 30 days. Identify what prevents you from acting and deal with it. Finally, have a backup plan when you fail. Failing one day is not the end. Do it the next day. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The writer is author of Everyday Happiness Mantras and Innovation Sutra

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