I have my new reading glasses. Typing on smart devices in the recent past has been fine but it’s amazing how, when I lift up the glasses I’m now wearing to see how things used to look, the text is blurry and really quite difficult to make out. Looking through my glasses, the text is razor-sharp, crystal clear, nice!
Loss of near sight focus is one of those things that generally deteriorates, as we get older. It’s the gradual deterioration that is worthy of mention. Humans are actually very adaptable. People often comment that they don’t like change; I suspect what they mean is significant change for them. Gradual change is much more acceptable and we adapt to it with little conscious thought. We are very habit-driven. The brain likes habits because it then requires very little response on its behalf to enact activities. Gradual changes largely go unnoticed. and what happens is that, over time, all those small changes add up to be a significant change over all. To repeat, only when I put on my glasses for the first time to write this blog post, did I realise how much my near sight vision had deteriorated over the years.
Habits are things that we are carrying around that have crept up and we’ve not realised. What might have started as a simple response has now become a routine, embedded response triggered by what the event in front of us means to us. And that’s also the point. It’s what it means to us for the same event may well have an entirely different meaning to another person.
So, what can we do to break a habit?
The first stage to breaking the habit loop, as Charles Duhigg writes in his fabulous book: The Power of Habit, is to recognise that we are doing it in the first place. We need to be much more aware of what is happening in our lives. And that takes effort on our behalf because our brain is essentially “a lazy piece of meat”. – Gregory Berns, from his book, Iconoclast.
Sometimes, those habits are reinforced because we don’t want to let go of things not helpful to us. We need to ‘Cut the Rope’ to those habit cues. If we ‘cut the rope’ to those cues, we break the ties to the habit routine that we carry out. Yes, this can be done. There are countless stories in books and on the Internet of habits broken. The common thread was that the will power ‘muscles’ were strengthened through determined practice and persistence leading to a change in routine and a loss of the undesired habit.
You see, I can see clearly now, the blur has gone. I could have chosen to hold on to how things were. After all, it was fine. I could see. Why change? Actually, things had changed and they weren’t serving me well but holding me back.
How we see things will dictate what we do about them. How do you see things in your life? Are you holding on when you would be better served letting go? What ‘ropes’ can you cut today to help free yourself from undesired habits?