We want children to look both ways before crossing the street. We want them to say “Please” and “Thank you”. We would like teens to take responsibility for their homework and drive on the right side of the road. We prefer that adults show up on time for meetings and shovel the snow on their sidewalks. (Yes, it is snowing in Minnesota today.) We don’t just expect that these things are done once in a while, but whenever situations call for such actions. In other words, we would like these things to become habits.
Individuals, families, schools, and communities cannot function effectively without positive and practical habits.
Habits are acquired behavior patterns regularly followed until they are done without conscious awareness.
From the moment of birth until the end of our lives, human beings are developing and practicing habits…but often without conscious awareness of the habits they are developing or the power of these habits.
In 1891, Tyron Edwards published A Dictionary of Thoughts. In it he illustrated the power of habits:
Any act often repeated soon forms a habit;
and habit allowed, steadily gains in strength.
At first it may be but as the spider’s web, easily broken through,
but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel.
John Dryden and others have reminded us that our habits have a major influence on who we become:
Likewise, American author Ralph Waldo Emerson realized that habits have the power to determine our future:
Our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being are greatly dependent on the habits we develop…no matter whether we are aware of these habits or not. However, given that, as Nathanael Emmons has said, “Habit is either the best of servants, or the worst of masters,” it’s best that we are mindful of the habits we are developing and that will govern our lives.
All of our habits play a significant role in our lives. Therefore, throughout the week, pay attention to which of your habits are faithful servants and which are controlling masters. Pay special attention to your mental habits. Next week’s Wellness Wednesday will focus on Positive Mental Habits, otherwise called Star Qualities in our Top 20 world. The following week we will focus on Negative Mental Habits or Saboteurs.
From our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody…whose habit is to keep me awake.
Top 20 Training