How does one go about reforming an old habit? In some cases (usually negative cases) the old habit comes easily. I think about things like procrastinating. It’s so easy to simply do nothing.
Rebuilding a productive habit is much harder. It takes effort. It takes planning. Most of all, it takes diligence.
Breaking the old habit in the first place
I will admit, I have the problem of overcommitting. I’m usually good, going 100 miles an hour for several months, doing a ton of different things, getting pulled in multiple directions. The problem is, it always catches up with me (eventually). When that happens, things come crashing down.
It’s almost like coming down from the world’s biggest sugar-high. After the crash, I don’t seem to have the ability to do much more than exist. If something is layered on, like a pandemic, I’m dragged down even further.
In the most recent example of this, the crash hit about three months before the pandemic. Just as I was dragging myself up, I got slammed down even further. I stopped writing. I had other life things that needed doing and, somehow I managed to summon just enough energy for those.
That made the eventual recovery take longer.
I have to want to reform the old habits. That usually takes time to rediscover why they were important in the first place. Happily, I have people who care around me to remind me. I also run into people who like what I’m doing. They remind me, too.
It is very much a process of building the foundation and then, adding layers to that foundation. Make new plans. Set new goals. Eventually, I build enough momentum that I have the old habit (or a reasonable facsimile) back in place.
I’m almost there again
The (good) old habit, in this case, writing most days, is largely back. I’m not writing quite as prolifically as I once did but that is coming back as well. The guilt of not writing has been banished and I’m allowing myself to say “no” to things that will only pull me back into the bad habit of overcommitment.
I’ll stay the course; only that will allow me to be successful. It’s like eating the elephant. The only way you can pull it off is to take it one bite at a time.