Old Habits Die Hard
I’ve been pondering some (bad) old habits lately. Not because of any resolutions I made for the new year, because I quit making resolutions I wasn’t going to keep ages ago. Just pondering in general. And not just habits, but maybe things I’ve believed about myself for such a long time that they’ve become habits. Those kinds of things don’t have to stay habits, if one really wants to change, but once a person has settled into that rut, it’s hard to get out of it.
Like meeting new people. Social situations where I don’t know many people make me uncomfortable to the point where I tend to stay to myself and the few people there I do know, whether it’s offline in my ‘real life’ or online in groups I’ve joined specifically to meet new people. Silly, right? To meet new people, you have to risk rejection, and it’s much more pleasant to avoid that altogether and just stick with people you know will treat you well, who already like you. But how many other people are missing out on making new friends because of that same ‘habit’? I’m fairly certain I’m not alone there. That is one habit I’ve determined I’m going to change, difficult as it is.
Or telling myself I’m good at last-minute desperation moments, like at work last week when we found out an unexpected delivery was coming the next day and had nowhere in the stock room to put it. By the time my shift was over, we had plenty of room for it. But I was beat, bruised and sore. And I really am too old for that crap. But other last-minute situations arise, like something for one of the kids at school, or for myself. I have to admit, however, that some of those don’t necessarily need to be last-minute situations. That one is a long-seated ‘habit’, too, since I used to wait till the night before a paper was due at school to write it, or the night before a test to start studying. Then, there are so many other, more pleasant things to do, so that icky stuff like homework, well, that’ll just wait, right? But as adults, we’re expected to make better decisions than teenagers. I wonder if it’s possible to kick habits like that? Maybe not for a teenager, but as an adult? I think it can be overcome. Eventually.
My messy work area here in the office is another bad habit I should really kick. I have a towering stack of books on one corner, and paper piles in several other places. Periodically, I do clear my space, but it never lasts. I always think I’m going to need this email, or get right back to that list, and somehow, it’s six months later and I can barely see my monitor over the mess. Too many stories waiting to be told to bother with cleaning. Too many family things to do to obsess over every speck of dust on my desk. Wherever the desk is under there. Maybe. That habit is actually on my list for this year, as in, regularly clear off the work space. It’s a really good thing there are eleven more months in the year, because I haven’t made much progress on this yet.
How many other bad habits like that are there? Probably more than I can count. How many of them am I guilty of? Probably far more than I want to admit to in a public venue.
I have a heroine in a manuscript I’m working on who is having to change her mindset about some ‘habits’ of her own, which is, I suppose, why I’ve been thinking about my own bad habits. She has gotten into a situation she never dreamed she’d be in, and her old habits are going to hold her back from getting the one thing she most wants in the world. Unless she can change her mindset.
So while I’m helping her change her mindset, I’ve got more work to do on my own. How about you? Any old habits you’re trying to break this year? Or at least modify? Maybe we can work on them together.
Hunting Medusa, 1/28/14