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The Power of Habit

In: Other Topics

Submitted By simo12
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First off, we are creatures. We are animals. We're very sophisticated and good-looking and all that, but let's never forget that we're made of flesh and blood. In particular, our brains are incredibly complex evolved machines. Our brains govern basic processes such as breathing and food intake, and also enable us to appreciate the finer points of John Cleese's performances in Fawlty Towers.
As creatures, we have needs. We need to eat, and so we eat. As rather intelligent and social creatures, we like to chat with one another, and so we do. We take turns and finish our conversations gracefully. And there are dozens and dozens more behaviors that are just as complicated, if not more so. How on Earth do we get all of this done?
That's where habits come in. Habits help us through our day. When we are doing something that is habitual, we are not engaged in the task in the same way as when we are doing something that is not habitual. Just as an example, consider making breakfast in your own kitchen on any given weekday. Next time you do it, watch how effortlessly it happens. It's not exactly like an out-of-body experience, but it's close. Your movements through the kitchen are stereotyped. You grab the milk out of the fridge, turn toward the counter and give the door that little nudge you with your foot that you know it needs. If something is on your mind, you might not notice that you're sitting at the table and munching on your second piece of toast until you're halfway through it. Now, compare that to getting breakfast at a friend's house. Maybe you're dog sitting (you're so nice!) Where's the milk? The bread? Oh my goodness, so complicated!
That's the power of a habit. And you don't have just one. You don't even have a dozen. You have dozens, maybe even hundreds. Thank goodness for habits! But, here's the catch: You don't like all of your habits. In fact, some of them...

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