The Habit | A Hallmark of Success?

Habits are the gears of life

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Habits are the gears of life
Christophe Vorlet

I’ve heard it said that habits are a hallmark of successful people. Perhaps it is the artist in me, but for much of my life I have tried to avoid developing too many habits just for the sake of routine. I love the spontaneity of life, and the joy of letting myself take an opportunity when it presents itself.

Many people swear by habits as formulas for success and one author even titled a book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Whether I like it or not, I have found that I do have habits, even if they are not conscious choices.  These habits may be the time I wake up in the morning, when I check my email and how I eat my meals. These habits affect how I interact with my family, co-workers and friends.

Set routines or daily habits provide a certain amount of stability and comfort in life. Whether that habit is drinking a cup of coffee every morning, hugging our children before they leave for school, saying I love you to our life partner, reading sacred texts, prayer, meditation, yoga, running, watching television or any other consciously chosen daily activity, these habits help us to maintain a certain equilibrium regardless of what happens in this unpredictable life.

The current habit that I am working on developing is writing at least six-hundred words each day. This blog is a big part of this habit/goal. If I write two posts a day each day, I should hit my mark easily.

But what does that mean? It means that I need to make the time. I have already missed a few days here in there since I began at the end of January. Usually the culprit is some other impending project that I think is more important than my writing time, other times is simply pure exhaustion, that makes it hard to get up early in the morning and write. Sometimes it is lack of coherent thoughts that I can put into a readable document.

So, whether I manage to meet my goal each day or not, my readers will know. Hopefully when 2011 is over, I will have developed the habit of writing each day.  I know that I already look at the days I do write as successes, and those days I skip feel incomplete, no matter what else I managed to accomplish.

I am sure that some days what I write will be valued little more than vomit on the page, but on the days that I struggle to meet my goal, even vomit on the page will be considered a grand success, for habits serve their need best when they are the most difficult to maintain.


image by Christophe Vorlet originally published in the New York Times

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