Each of us has some habits

Chaplain’s CornerPadre Rosinski

Padre Marcin Rosinski

A habit you don’t like?

Each of us has some habits. They also have their advantages: they simplify our lives, bring a nice sense of stability and, over time, become second nature to us. Is there anything wrong with that? Probably not – as long as the habits themselves are not bad for us. Because if they are, it is worth changing them.

Theoretically, nothing easier … and have you ever tried? Exactly.
Why is it so hard to change a habit? This is not a big secret; it is simply that, over time, the habit grows so tightly with us that it becomes an integral part of ourselves. Removing something like that just can’t be painless. And that’s why we have to use a trick.

First of all, let’s carefully identify the enemy. Unfortunately, it is not enough to say to yourself, “from now (or tomorrow) I will be a different person.” We have to name the problem and think about why it bothers us and why we want to change it. It is also worth realizing or even writing down how much we will gain when we make this change. Only then can we proceed.

And by the way – don’t expect miracles. I mean miracles are to be expected every day, but we should not expect that we will overcome a habit established from childhood heroically in a week. Such things are only in fairy tales. In real life, we’ll probably need a little more time. But the sooner we start, the sooner we will win.

So the change will cost us a little – but it is possible; and our ally in the eradication of a habit will be … another habit. After all, the wedge is best removed with the wedge. So much for theories – and now let’s move on to practical issues, i.e. how to implement this “wisdom.” The habits that we want to remove may concern completely trivial matters, but also, let’s be honest, important issues. It will be a bit different to get rid of the habit of biting your nails, and it will be another thing to get rid of the habit of getting into toxic relationships. But let’s take a closer look at something that probably affects all of us – eating habits. “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw”…a donut.

How can we apply the wedge principle here? It depends. For example, if we have the habit of snacking on sweets before going to bed (and we often do – and don’t ask how I know about it), we can either have an uneven fight every night (and finally lose), or replace it with a habit of munching something else. For example, fruit chips. Or carrots. Or kohlrabi. And so on – there are many options, but the most important thing is to think about them before the evening sets in, and we, hungry, tired and already in our PJs, will feel an irresistible desire to eat a little something.

Staying on the dish – related topics: let us pay attention to how much our habits limit us and make us ossify in our usual habits. And that leads us to boredom … no matter how old we are. The thing is happening completely imperceptibly. When going to the store, we park in the same place if possible, we follow a certain path, and finally we pack the same products into the basket as usual. And then at home, we use them to prepare the same dishes as last week. And as in the previous one. And so on … In a word, terrible boredom. And how is such a person supposed to undertake great changes?

That is why it is worth starting the fight against habits – even those that do not have the slightest relation to food – with small matters, such as everyday shopping. Let’s take a different route than usual. Let’s buy a different pasta than always. Let’s try a completely new recipe. OK, maybe we’ll make a mistake and lose a precious quarter of an hour of our lives cooking something that will turn out to be a major culinary disaster and will be completely inedible. But at least there will be something to remember and maybe to tell stories later.

But maybe we will just discover our new favorite dish? Maybe inspired by its taste, we will go to the country of its origin on our next vacation? (Of course after the pandemic!) Maybe we will meet interesting people who will inspire us to change our daily routine, discover a new hobby, or simply become our friends? We don’t know that. And it would be a shame not to find out.

marcin.rosinski@forces.gc.ca