October 17

Motivation Mondays: HABITS

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“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” Charles Dickens

Motivation Mondays: HABITS - Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors
Motivation Mondays: HABITS – Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny. Mahatma Gandhi
Good habits formed at youth make all the difference. Aristotle

What Are Habits? When you think of habits, what comes to mind? Habits are patterns of thought and behavior we adopt and repeat over and over again in both a conscious and subconscious way. We all have our share of habits, good and bad, that feed our spirit and fuel our minds and bodies on a daily basis. If, like me, you are in the habit of waking up early to the sound of birds chirping in the trees or to 3 alarm clocks going off one after the other, you’ll understand. Habits are part of our make-up and we are motivated to keep them going at almost any cost. When I started researching for this post, I was reminded of some of the stories and tips I’ve heard over the years. Depending on the source, bad/good habits can be formed in 3/21/30 days and changed in 21/30 days … or even longer! It has always struck me as a fascinating subject because habits are pretty easy to pick up and quite hard to rid ourselves of; especially the bad ones. Whether we wish to admit to it or not, part of our human make up is based on our exposure to others, our desire to follow patterns of behavior that we stick to, and our ties to socioeconomic influences that include cultural norms we cultivate in our homes and communities. So, for example, if we surround ourselves with folks who enjoy Y, then the tendency to join in is greater. On the other hand, we can make a decision to go against the grain to try an approach that works for us and that could lead us down another path for good or worse.
Habits Begin in Our Mind: As I read many of the articles I’ve shared on this post, one thing became crystal clear, our habits begin in our mind and with our thoughts and behaviors. If we are to adopt new and better habits and abandon old, bad habits, the work must begin in our minds; the mind is a very powerful part of our being and it has tremendous sway over our choices and decisions so before we can even embark on a new path to exchanging bad habits for good ones, we must start with our inner dialogue and make friends with it. Of the many articles I perused for this post, I must add that enjoyed all the tips and insights they shared, Reader’s Digest offered a fabulous 12 Step approach; Acknowledge, Isolate, Pair, Want, Rebel, Honor Yourself, Plan, Act, Replace, Enlist Reward, and Forgive. What I love about this is that the first step is to acknowledge the habit and the final step is to forgive ourselves and others we might want to blame. If we are to heal our old habits and move forward, we must start from a place of honesty and introspection,  and move from there to actively work at changing.

A Story: Make Friends With Your Mind
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
“We monks don’t do near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?” Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

READ: The Habit Change Workbook: How To Break Bad Habits and Form Good Ones by James Claiborn & Cherry Pedrick R.N.
Reader’s Digest – How to Break a Habit in 12 Steps
HuffPost – 5 Unexpected Ways To Break A Bad Habit
WebMD – 3 Easy Steps to Breaking Bad Habits: by Denice Mann


“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Samuel Johnson

Motivation Mondays: HABITS - Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors
Motivation Mondays: HABITS – Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors

CHANGE HABITS: Breaking Bad Behaviors by Owen Fitzpatrick

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Some rules are nothing but old habits that people are afraid to change. Therese Anne Fowler

Some years ago, I attended a conference in which Mr. Covey spoke about his popular book and the main takeaway was that we can change our negative habits to more successful one with commitment and effort. Often people chicken out when they drop the ball after sticking to a program for a little bit. As Covey suggested in his book above, we need to be proactive in shifting directions and putting our most cherished thoughts and plans first. We need to remind ourselves that this is part of the struggle to find our footing and it’s perfectly normal to fall down, misstep or fall off the path. The key to succeeding at ending a bad habit and adopting a new one is that we MUST get up and use the strategies offered by the writers in the curated articles. Whether we choose to go cold turkey and quit a bad habit, or solicit the support of a professional and concerned friends to see us through a much needed change, we have to start with our self talk, be ready to face the truth, stay true to who we are and work on the forgiveness part of our plan. Once we get our new habit underway, we need to remove the temptations/triggers that led us astray and replace them with healthier options. It is tougher to quit bad habits if we stay in the same situation, respond to the same triggers, or surround ourselves with the same temptations.

How can we stay motivated with new habits? For starters, we need to clarify why it is critical for us to change. We need to explore options that make sense for us and … the point here is that there isn’t a common cure all for everyone. We need to keep our eyes focused on our expected outcomes and the prize/reward we will receive for it. An important part of our strategy must include sharpening our saw by reaching for resources and strategies that will help us stay on course. When I quit smoking many years ago, I used NLP self-hypnosis to drop the habit and it worked for me permanently. I made sure to get rid of everything that reminded me of the habit and stayed away from the places and things that were a trigger; at least, until I felt deep down that the habit was buried. We can try a wide range of strategies but, for any of them to work, we must be ready to go for it. It must start with our thoughts and behavior… that is imperative.
A Story: Seek To Understand, To Be Understood
Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung.
The other monk asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it’s nature is to sting?”
“Because,” the monk replied, “to save it is my nature.”

A Story: Old Habits Die Hard…
When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

READ: Lifehacker – Top 10 Ways to Break Bad Habits by Melanie Pinola
WikiHow – How to Form a Good Habit
Washington Post – How to build good habits – and actually make them stick By Brigid Schulte
LifeHack – 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick by Scott H Young

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for August  and September 2016 are:

09/05 –   Labor Day,  International Day of Charity,  8 International Literacy Day,
09/12 –  15 Day of Democracy Day,  17 Constitution Day
09/19 –  21 International Day of Peace/ World Peace Day, World Rhino Day
09/26 – National Preparedness Month, National Childhood Cancer Awareness, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, National School Success Month, National Childhood Obesity Awareness

10/03 –  2-4 Rosh Hashana,  6 German-American Day,
10/10 –  10  Columbus Day, World Mental Health Day, 11 International Day of the Girl,  12 Yom Kippur
10/17 –   16 World Food Day / FAO World Food Day
10/24 –  24 United Nations Day,  28 National Chocolate Day, 29 National Cat Day, 30 Diwali
10/31 —  31 Halloween

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2016?

– Join the Daily Post Post-a-day or Post-a-week Challenge.


— Join the BlogHer Writing Lab

More Below!

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” John Irving

Motivation Mondays: HABITS - Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors
Motivation Mondays: HABITS – Our repetitive thoughts and behaviors

WatchWellCast: How to Break Bad Habits

Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny. Samuel Smiles
Successful people are simply those with successful habits. Brian Tracy
Difficult times disrupt your conventional ways of thinking and push you to forge better habits of thought, performance and being. Robin S. Sharma

What If We Fail with a new Habit? Get back up and try, try, try again. Perfection is not required. Over a year ago, I decided that I wanted to focus on writing a weekly Motivation post to help myself and others shift our thinking about Mondays. Initially, I made a lot of excuses about why it was a waste of time… Then, with a little prompting from the good folks at WordPress, I took baby steps and kept it up. As any motivational writer would admit, we write abut what we need to learn too and so each week, I do my homework with anticipation and gratitude about the topic that I’ve chosen. I do my homework because I know that by learning and sharing information, and motivating others to stay the course, I am motivating myself to do same… one hand washes the other.

I know that by sticking to the habit of writing my Monday posts, I am staying committed to making incremental changes in my thinking and my habits. Now, is that is a powerful way to shift away from limited thinking and ideas? Of course, because when we make the effort to explore subjects that hold our attention and learn from them, we are feeding our body and mind a diet of positive food/ideas.  Frankly, the materials I curate give me enormous insights and help me learn new ways of looking at old habits. Plus, the feedback I get from readers helps me clarify my position on each topic I explore. So, I’ve gone from someone who saw Monday as a ho-hum day to one who looks forward to the beginning of each week with delight. Try it! What habits are you working on? What tips would you share that worked for you?

A Story: How We Form Habits
Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.
In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.
Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.
Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting.
Do not regret the past. Look to the future.
Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had castaway a pair of old shoes. Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

READ: The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick and How to Break A Bad Habit by James Clear
Success.com – 7 Steps to Break Your Bad Habits: Is it simple? No, it’s hard—but it’s far from impossible if you follow the right action plan. Chris Widener
WikiHow – How to Break a Habit


Have a productive  week ahead!

Any Zen Antics stories via Goodweb.cn


Positive Motivation Tip:  Be mindful of your habits and honor yourself.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM
Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos –  via Wikipedia, and/or Habits, Gambling, drinking, exercising, dancing, dieting, via Pixabay

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

















#MotvnM, breaking habits, habits, Happiness, inspiration, Motivation, Motivation Mondays, motivational stories, positive attitude, postaday

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