Old habits die hard, and new ones are just as hard to create. There used to be a universally accepted myth that it took 21 days to form a new habit–Floss daily! Stop smoking! Make your bed! No one really knows where or how or when this magical 21 days took root, but it’s a bunch of hooey, baloney, hogwash. It can actually take hundreds of days, or as little as 18 days. As with most things in life, it depends on the person. Research now shows it takes an average of 66 days. (Keep up those workouts!!)
These numbers don’t really matter. The bottom line is: Decide to make a change. Do it. Keep doing it. Do it some more. Keep going. The end.
As with most things in life, pretty simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy. It can be difficult AND simple. It does mean it’s pretty straightforward. Identify what you want to start doing, or stop doing. Then do it. “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” – Kenneth Blanchard
People complain about feeling stuck in their lives. Whether it’s feeling stuck in a career, or being surrounded by toxic or mean friends, or feeling like you should have had a more realized life, or feeling bored with life in general, or not being able to find a romantic interest. We find what we seek. If you find you’re not being challenged or supported by your friends in positive ways, chances are good you aren’t. If you tell yourself that you’re always surrounded by a certain type of personality, chances are good you are. Because you’ve sought that out and continue to remain in that space with them, physically and mentally. Perhaps these are unmotivated people, or drama queens, or people you can’t trust or don’t respect. Keep hanging out with the usual suspects, and you’ll always round up your usual suspects. Hang out in the same bars, network with the same people, do the same thing every weekend: your view remains the same because you’re standing in the same place, literally and metaphorically.
These behavioral habits create a worldview. People get into a habit of despair. By surrounding oneself with the same dynamics, it perpetuates a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the results are always the same. The world is hard and cold. People are untrustworthy. People are always out to get me or they play me. Life is not fair. Well, we get what we look for. If you gravitate to the same types of people, or surround yourself with the same circle of people, chances are good every time you turn around, you’ll bump into drama, or disappointment, or mean people, or unfair circumstances. If you want something more in life, if you want something to be different, stop fishing in the same pond.
It may not feel comfortable to change your habits, to stop your automatic and reflexive thoughts, to find another pond. But are you enjoying your habit of despair? Creating a habit of peace and joy and awe and wonder and gratitude is hard, and actually not so peaceful at times–can be kinda painful at times. But isn’t that the case with any new habit? Growing pains. Familiarity breeds comfort, but does it breed happiness? You have to decide if you still enjoy the view from the same old pond, or if it’s worth it to go find another one. Happy fishing. You’ll find what you’re searching for.