The Paper Lion
Personal

Habits Can Make Or Break You

One of my favorite books of all time is As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. It is like a precursor to the infamous The Secret, except in the case of Allen’s book is not full of baloney. What the message boils down to is that our thoughts, even the seemingly insignificant ones affect your behavior for better or worse. In essence your thoughts crystallize into habits which become your destiny. If you want change in your life, this quote points the way forward:

“A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself.” ~James Allen

This is obviously easier said than done however. I personally have always admired those who can focus and not falter in their endeavors, or if they do falter they get right back up again and brush themselves off. I also believe that with laser like focus you can achieve almost anything you set out determined to do.

The problem in my case is that I am slovenly. If I want a better life I need to stop being complacent, and it begins with not reflecting on my behavior. For instance, I have a bad habit of chewing my nails. If I cannot even gain control over such a small behavior, how am I supposed to gain control over where my life is headed?

So I try practicing mindfulness, or in other words I try to remain conscious of what I do, hopefully in order to ingrain good habits into myself and to basically exercise some self control. This means reminding myself of the better angel of my nature, or what I could be instead of just lazily accepting myself as I am. To accept myself as I am is to be giving implicitly consent and approval of my circumstances.

While it has been hard and I find myself slipping up and taking the easy way out, it is not like I am the same person I used to be. For one, I am a pretty organized person and I take pride in staying organized. I also tend to take initiative when no one asks, anyone who has lived with me can see that with how I deal with house chores. I like cleaning, I don’t just clean because it’s expected or because I’m asked.

While I may not have the ultimate say in where my life is, I should when it comes to the type of person I am. The type of person that I am is determined by the habits that I allow to take root in my being. It is a garden that I must constantly weed, for it can be a slippery slope if I let them grow. The best I can do is work on it, day-to-day, keeping faith in my self and the idea that I can do better.