Old Habits Die Hard But I Swear I Will Kill This One

Old Habits Die Hard But I Swear I Will Kill This One

Are you working on breaking a habit?

motivational quote by Henry Ford

That seems perpetual sometimes, no?  I mean, we can always improve.  And that improvement comes down to working on habits of the mind. Because of course, that’s where they live.

I was a born skeptic.  At least, I can never remember a time in this lifetime when I wasn’t one.  I question, well, literally everything.

It took me a long time (a very long time, actually) to believe that keeping an upbeat attitude would pay dividends.  I just had no natural inclination for this.  And enough horror happened in childhood that the old “Life’s a bitch and then you die” got cemented into my brain.

Even as I grew through life and good things did happen (who knew!), I always watched over my shoulder for what bad would come next.  Because I just knew it would arrive like drought follows rain.

Not a terribly effective way to live your life!  But I could wallow in whatever misery and say, “See!  I told you the bad would appear!”

And then as life rambled along, I started to also see that there was actually a better way.  Not everybody thought in this manner, and behold and lo—their lives were better for it.

A lot of folks would say (as I did once) that their attitudes are more positive because their lives are just better for some ethereal reason.

But I found this not to be the case.  In fact, many people focused on living with a positive attitude have had far more horrible things happen to them than have happened to me.

I wasn’t in that Nazi concentration camp with Viktor Frankl.  His work centered around finding meaning—no matter what—and the folks who did were more upbeat and positive.  Including himself.

And they made it out of the camp alive.

This got my attention.

Few of us, thank god, will have the opportunity to put our minds to a test such as surviving a concentration camp.  But that doesn’t mean that our own stinkin’ thinkin’ won’t bite our butts in myriad ways.

It sure has mine.

I tend to need practical examples of success in order to embrace any belief system. And the more I studied the effects of a positive outlook, the more examples I found.  They’re legion.

And I found that odd theory to be true as well—when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Now, I won’t get all quantum physics here, but that’s scientifically bearing out as well.  Physicists have shown that particles react differently based on the observer studying them.

Finding that also changed my life.

Not that I don’t fall back into the negative.  Old habits die hard!  Because negative thinking, disbelief, have nipped my heels all my life.

But I’m committed.  I’ve seen the change in so many people’s lives, and in my own as well.  And now, as soon as the negative arises, I stop it.

Actually, I use the same command that I do while training puppies: “Leave it.”

That just works for me 🙂  Probably because I’ve said it so many times to wayward pups that it’s meaning is cemented in my mind—just as that skepticism used to be.  Which causes an immediate, physical reaction to just stop.

Then I reality test—do I absolutely know the bad scenario is the truth?  Unless I’ve become clairvoyant, the answer is of course no.

So, I find the good outcome that can occur, and choose to focus on that.

And it works every time.

You know the craziest part about that?  Far more often than not, the positive occurrence manifests.

Just look at all the heartache I saved myself in the process.

So yep, old habits die hard.  Once thought to be killed, they come back to life like zombies from the walking dead.

That just means you’re getting somewhere 🙂

Because even zombies can ultimately be killed.

And it all happens in the mind.

As Dr. Frankl said, Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

And that I know for true.

How do you slay your bad habits?


This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I try hard to be positive but find I’m a bit more negative than I like. I hear my mom being negative all the time a realize I inherit from her but I am trying to mend my ways.

    1. That you have identified the source of your negative tapes is just huge, Rebecca! It’s half the battle. And I can tell you’re making progress!

  2. I’ve been working on my negative thoughts and have seen great improvement on my goals!

    1. I love that, Jes! Isn’t it wonderful to see progress! You go!

  3. This post hit me to the core! (And I LOVE that you referenced The Walking Dead. Pretty much my favorite show!) 😉

    1. I just think of negative thoughts as zombies, lurching toward me! LOL. Thanks for stopping by, Susannah!

  4. I think this could really help someone through this step. Well written.

  5. I try to stay positive, bet there are times that negativity wins. I need to work on this more.

    1. That’s all of us, I truly believe. We all have lapses. But you hit the solution–work on this more. It works every time!

  6. I used to be the same, always thinking I know it all and then expect better things to happen. I spent over 9 yrs hating on the city I live in now. Then one wet day a very soaked Julies stopped in the middle of the road and thought. If someone head me as much as I say I hate this city would I be showering them with love? Heck no! So why do I think this city will love me back if i hate on it so much…light bulb. Negative energy attracts even more negative things into our lives..time to stop and smell the roses, coffee, good, gratitude is the key…

    1. I just love that, Julie! Don’t you love those light-bulb moments? And you are so right–negative energy attracts even more negativity things into our lives. Well said. Now, I do believe I have some roses to smell . . . Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Hey Susan! I would never have guessed that you weren’t an optimist from the beginning. I’m not sure why but it has always been part of me and for that I’m very grateful. Sure I have my challenges like we all do, and every now and then sucky things happen, but I just don’t let myself stay there. The BIGGEST thing that helps me is that I NEVER watch the news (and only read a bit on the internet) and I only hang out with positive people. Good to remember every single day. ~Kathy

    1. Yep, optimism was surely a learned trait for me, Kathy 🙂 But I’m getting better at it every single day. Progress!
      I love the idea of never watching the news. I still do, but often take extended news fasts. Really helps.
      But you really hit the key–only hanging out with positive people. The new studies reveal we’re most like the five people closest to us, so choosing wisely becomes even more important.
      Great tips–thank you!

  8. My bad habit is staying up late at night. Although I am getting good at going to bed not later than 10PM, I still stay up late once in a while especially if I have unfinished work online.

    1. I so know how that is, Mhar. And there’s always unfinished work, no? But progress is the name of the game and you’re getting there!

  9. That is a really tough habit to break, especially when your past experiences have confirmed it. Positive thinking really does work, so I’ll encourage you to stick with it and watch all of this positive energy come your way!

    1. Isn’t it amazing how much positive energy comes from this, Ari! Just that keeps me on track 🙂

  10. How many times have I read Man’s Search For Meaning? I don’t know. I’ve quit counting.

    1. It’s a true treasure, isn’t it, Michael. I learn something deeper with each reading . . .

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