A habit is “a wonderful invention that God has placed within each of us. You might say it is like a built-in automatic pilot. A habit is a thought or action that we have repeated until it has become automatic, and we do it without stopping to decide.”
Kathy Butryn will be one of the guest speakers at the Healthy by Design Weekend Intensive coming on June 12th and 13th. Read her insightful article on habits.
I made a mistake this week. Well actually, I probably made more than one…but that’s for another time.
I was feeling quite good, seeing the last load of laundry hit the washing machine before going to bed that night. But I wasn’t feeling quite as good when Alan delivered them to our bedroom to fold and put away. Smeared on every piece of clothing was a colour that suspiciously matched my newest lipstick. A quick trip to the laundry room confirmed my suspicions when I found an empty lipstick tube lying innocently in the dryer.
I bristled internally, knowing that my first priority the next day would have to be the “stain removal” of 4 pairs of jeans and several tops, one of them brand new. I really had better things to do. However, armed with a full bottle of “Shout” and in the company of Regis and Kelly, I sat for just over an hour, rubbing and scrubbing, finally succeeding in removing “MAC #AA6″ out of our clothes.
Man, if I would just get into the habit of consistently checking pockets before putting the clothes in the washer, I would have saved myself all of this pain, time and aggravation,” I thought to myself.
Hmm, habits. They come in all shapes and sizes…good and bad. Think about it. They can be our friend or our enemy. They can help us or hurt us. They can serve us or enslave us. They can work for us or work against us.
What exactly is a habit? In his book “Dare to Discipline Yourself”, Dale Galloway defines a habit as “a wonderful invention that God has placed within each of us. You might say it is like a built-in automatic pilot. A habit is a thought or action that we have repeated until it has become automatic, and we do it without stopping to decide.”
Sometimes the word “habit” has gotten a bad rap. We read about “drinking habits”, “drug habits”, “swearing habits”, “over-eating habits”, and the list goes on. But here’s the good news. We can choose and develop habits that, instead of working against us, work for us.
Galatians 6:7 reminds us of a truth that many of us know, and perhaps have learned the hard way through the choices we have made or are currently living in our lives. That truth is that “we will reap what we sow.”
Sow an act and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
Sowing bad habits will reap bad results. If we are really honest, we will not need to look beyond our own lives to recognize that. Constantly over-eating or indulging in the wrong foods reaps weight gain and an unhealthy body. Going to bed late every night reaps exhaustion (and crankiness). Not leaving enough time to get to an appointment reaps frustration and stress.
And just the opposite is true. Thankfully.
I determined this week to “sow the habit of checking pockets before doing the laundry.” Fortunately, the lack of this habit did not cost me much…just a little time, frustration and three quarters of a bottle of “Shout”. But it led me to ask myself some questions. And I will ask you too. What kind of habits have you developed in your life? What thoughts do you think automatically? What actions do you repeat without thinking or stopping to decide? Are they good habits? Are they habits that will harm you?
Let’s explore this over the next few weeks. Take time to honestly answer these questions. And remember…sowing good habits reaps good character.