Breaking Bad Habits Journey: Have you ever done something so often that it feels normal, even if it's not the best for you?

The Normalcy of Not-So-Great Choices (A Journey to Personal Fulfillment)

Ever catch yourself doing something so often it feels normal, even if deep down you know it’s not the best for you? We all have those little habits that sneak into our lives. But, here’s a cautionary note: just because it feels familiar doesn’t mean it’s good.

You know, sometimes we do things repeatedly, so much that we don’t even notice it anymore. It’s like tying your shoes or brushing your teeth. But what happens when these things, these habits, aren’t exactly, well, good for us? You see, habits are sneaky little critters. They creep in, make a home, and before you know it, you’re doing something without even thinking.

Picture this: You’re at home, watching your favorite movie (maybe one of mine?), and there’s a giant bowl of popcorn. You start munching, one after the other, lost in the film. The movie ends, and bam! The bowl’s empty. Did you even taste the popcorn after the first few handfuls?

Or how about this one? You’re driving home from work, the same route every day. One day, you get home and can’t even remember passing the big red barn or the duck pond. It’s like you were on autopilot. Ever felt that?

Now, flip the coin. Imagine a habit you picked up that’s good, like drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. At first, it felt weird, right? But now, it’s just part of the routine, and you feel better for it!

Going back to our popcorn munching and autopilot driving, what’s common? Both felt normal. You didn’t think, you just did. It’s easy to see why we do these things. We’re creatures of comfort. But the Stoics believed in self-awareness and control. They’d say, take a step back, observe yourself, and ask, “Why am I doing this?”

Remember what the Bible says in Romans 12:2? “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It’s a call to think, to reflect, and not just go with the flow.

Just because it’s familiar, doesn’t mean it’s your friend. Sometimes, the things we do without thinking are the things we might want to think about the most.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. Spend a day just observing your habits. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  2. At the end of the day, jot down what you noticed. Any patterns?
  3. What if you did the opposite of one of your habits for a day? Like, if you always have coffee first thing, try tea.
  4. Think of your habits as clothes. Which ones fit well? Which ones are kinda itchy and uncomfortable?
  5. What if you dropped one bad habit for a month? How would life be different?
  6. For each habit, especially the sneaky ones, ask yourself, “Why do I do this?”

Do You Really Want What You Think You Want?

In this big world, we often find ourselves wanting things. Society tells us we need to fit in, be cool, or just go with the flow. But what if that flow isn’t right for us? Ever thought about that?

You know that feeling, right? When everyone’s got the latest gadget, eating the trendiest food, or doing that new cool dance. We often get pulled into wanting what everyone else wants. It’s like there’s this big magnet called “society” pulling our desires in all sorts of directions. But here’s the kicker: is that magnet pulling you where you really want to go?

Imagine you’re at a party. There’s a table loaded with all kinds of food. Everyone’s raving about the new “superfood” salad. You take a plateful because, well, everyone else is. But halfway through, you realize you don’t even like it. It tastes like cardboard with dressing. Yet, you saw it on every health blog and everyone around you seems to love it.

Or think about this: the latest phone just dropped. It’s sleek, it’s shiny, and everyone’s talking about it. So, you save up, skip a few meals out, and get the phone. A month later, you realize it’s not that different from your old one. But hey, everyone said it’s the “must-have”, right?

Now, let’s flip the coin. You remember that one time you found a hobby, maybe it was knitting or bird-watching, and it wasn’t “popular” or “trendy”. But you loved it! It made you feel calm, happy, and you didn’t care if it was on any top 10 list.

Reflecting on our salad and phone stories, what’s the common thread? We got caught in the current, swimming where everyone else was going without asking ourselves if that’s where we wanted to be. The Stoics believed in knowing oneself and not being swayed by external influences. They’d probably say, “Hey, you do you!”

And don’t forget Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.” Now, I’m not saying eating a trendy salad is deadly, but it reminds us to be cautious about following the crowd without thinking.

Sometimes, the path everyone’s on isn’t the shortcut to happiness; it’s just a detour from finding out what you truly want.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. For a week, notice when you’re doing or wanting something because it’s popular.
  2. At the end of the week, list out these things. How many did you genuinely enjoy or find useful?
  3. Try doing the opposite of a popular trend. Like, if everyone’s doing a juice cleanse, have a balanced meal.
  4. Think about the last thing you did just for yourself versus what you did because it was the “in thing”. How did each make you feel?
  5. What if you spent a month only doing things you genuinely liked, regardless of their popularity?
  6. For each trend or popular thing you’re drawn to, ask, “Why do I want this? Is it for me or for the crowd?”

Just Because It’s Popular Doesn’t Mean It’s Your Stop

Look around! The youngsters today, they’re diving headfirst into trends without thinking twice. The “everyone’s doing it” mentality? It’s powerful, but not always right. Remember when everyone was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge? Fun, right? But not all trends are harmless.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Remember high school? There was always that one thing everyone was doing or wearing. Fast forward to today, and not much has changed. The game’s the same, just the players are younger. The young folks, they’re hopping onto every trend train that pulls into the station. It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s… always right? Let’s pump the brakes and think about that.

Imagine a world where everyone’s wearing neon-colored shoes. It’s the latest fad. Every foot you see, every selfie clicked – bright, blinding neon. You think, “Alright, let’s give it a shot,” and soon, you’re sporting neon too. But every time you look down, you squint. Those shoes, they don’t feel like “you”, but hey, you’re in the “cool” club now.

Now, picture this: There’s a new app everyone’s on. It promises to make your day 100% better. You download it. Days turn into weeks, and you realize you’re spending hours on it, but your days? They don’t feel 100% better. Maybe 10% more distracted.

On the flip side, remember that time you stumbled upon a little-known book or a quiet hobby? It wasn’t “the rage”, but it gave you peace, joy, and genuine happiness. It was your little secret garden in a world chasing neon lights.

Reflecting on our neon shoes and addictive app, what’s the real deal? We tried fitting into a mold, a mold set by others. It’s fun to try new things, but it’s essential to know and be true to oneself. It’s about finding balance. And hey, Romans 12:2 reminds us not to conform but to test and discern what’s right.

In a world constantly changing its definition of ‘cool’, maybe the coolest thing you can do is find what genuinely resonates with you.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. Take a day and observe every trend you see around you. From fashion to tech, jot it down.
  2. At night, review your list. How many of these trends have you tried or wanted to try? Why?
  3. Tomorrow, consciously avoid one trend. Instead, do something that’s “untrendy” but you love.
  4. At the end of the day, compare how you felt doing what you love versus following a trend.
  5. Imagine a month without trends. What would you do? How would you feel?
  6. The next time a trend catches your eye, pause and ask, “Why do I want to try this? Is it for me or because it’s the ‘in thing’?”

Navigating Beyond Bad Habits

You’re grown up now. Remember when you thought adults had everything figured out? Well, joke’s on us! We’re all trying to navigate this maze called life. And trust me, bad habits? They’re like quicksand in this maze.

Alright, let’s get real for a second. Growing up, we all had this rosy picture of adulthood, didn’t we? Big people with big answers, striding confidently through life. But now that we’re here, let’s face it: being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s less of a straight path and more of a twisty maze. And those bad habits? They’re the tricky turns that lead to dead ends.

Imagine you’ve got this habit of procrastinating. You’ve got a big project due, but there’s a voice saying, “Ah, there’s still time.” Days turn into hours, hours into minutes, and before you know it, you’re racing against the clock, stressed out, chugging coffee, and pulling an all-nighter.

Or how about this: you’ve promised yourself you’d start eating healthier. But every evening, as you’re driving home, that fast-food joint on the corner beckons. It’s just so easy to grab a quick burger instead of cooking. A one-time thing becomes a regular pit stop, and soon, those jeans are feeling a tad tight.

But then, there’s the flip side. Remember when you decided to start jogging every morning? The first day was tough. The second day, even tougher. But you stuck with it. Slowly, it became a part of your routine. Now, not only are you fitter, but you also start your day with a clear mind.

So, taking a step back, what do our procrastination and fast-food pit stops teach us? They’re easy, comfortable choices at the moment. But in the long run? They’re detours from our goals. The Stoics believed in discipline and understanding our true nature. They’d probably tell us, “Know thyself, and then act accordingly.”

The Bible, in Galatians 6:7, says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” It’s a reminder that our actions, including our habits, have consequences.

In the vast, winding maze of adulthood, every habit is a turn. The question isn’t about where they lead, but where you want to go.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. Spend a day observing your habits, especially the ones you do without thinking.
  2. At night, list these habits. Which ones push you forward, and which ones pull you back?
  3. For a week, consciously avoid one bad habit. Note the challenges and how you feel without it.
  4. Compare a day dominated by good habits versus one led by bad habits. Spot the difference in your mood and productivity.
  5. What if you dropped all your bad habits for a year? How different would your life be?
  6. Before falling into a routine habit, pause and ask, “Why am I doing this? Does it align with my goals?”

There’s No Elevator to Success, Only Stairs

Now, here’s a piece of wisdom for you: there’s no shortcut to success. Hard work? That’s the ticket! You might see folks taking the easy way, but true satisfaction comes from sweat and grit. Ever seen a gardener beam at his blooming flowers? That’s hard work paying off.

You know, in this fast-paced world, it’s easy to look for shortcuts. A quick fix here, a little hack there. But let me spill the beans: real success, the kind that warms your heart and soul, comes from good old hard work. Think of it like making a sandwich. You could grab a pre-packed one, but isn’t it so much tastier when you make it yourself, with all your favorite fillings?

Imagine you’ve got a big test coming up. There’s a rumored “leaked” version of the test floating around. Tempting, right? But you decide to hit the books instead. You study hard, grasp concepts, and when test day arrives, you’re not just regurgitating answers; you understand them.

Or picture this: you want to get fit. There are tons of “miracle” pills and “30-second” workout gimmicks. But you choose the old-fashioned way. You start jogging, lifting weights, and watching your diet. It’s tough, but with each passing day, you feel stronger, more alive.

Now, think of a time you took a shortcut. Maybe you used a cake mix instead of baking from scratch. It was quicker, sure, but didn’t it lack that homemade goodness? That special touch that only effort can bring?

Reflecting on our test and fitness journeys, what shines through? The value of genuine effort. It’s not just about the end goal, but the journey, the learning, the growth. The Stoics often said that it’s our efforts and intentions that define us.

And the Bible? Proverbs 14:23 hits the nail on the head: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” It’s a timeless reminder that talk is cheap; it’s our actions, our perseverance, that truly counts.

In the recipe of life, hard work is the secret sauce. It might take time, but boy, does it make everything taste so much better!

Do these actionable steps:

  1. For a week, keep a log of tasks where you put in genuine effort versus where you looked for shortcuts.
  2. Reflect on how each task made you feel. Was there a difference in satisfaction levels?
  3. Challenge yourself to avoid shortcuts for a month. Instead, dive deep into every task, giving it your all.
  4. At the end of the month, compare how you feel versus the start. Notice any changes in self-esteem or confidence?
  5. What if you committed to a year of no shortcuts? How would that change your skills, your relationships, your life?
  6. Before opting for a shortcut, ask yourself, “Why am I choosing this? Am I avoiding effort, or is it genuinely the best option?”

Every Choice Comes with a Receipt

Nothing’s free. Every choice, good or bad, has a price. Remember the story of Adam and Eve? One choice, and boom! Out of Eden. But hardships, they teach us. They mold us. So, be thankful for the lessons.

Now, I ain’t talking about the ones on fancy shoes or that big-screen TV. I’m talking about the costs of our choices. Every decision, big or small, leaves a mark. Sometimes it’s a high-five, and other times, it’s a facepalm. But here’s the twist: even the facepalms, the missteps, they’re teaching moments.

Picture this: you’ve got a sweet tooth and a stash of candy. Every night, you think, “Just one piece,” but end up finishing half the bag. Time rolls on, and suddenly, your teeth are giving you a hard time. That candy came with a cost, not just in dollars, but in dental visits.

Now, imagine you’ve got a deadline. Instead of chipping away at the task daily, you opt for last-minute cramming. The project’s done, but it’s not your best work. Your boss notices, and while there’s no firing, there’s a little less sparkle in their eyes when they look your way.

But then, think about the times you’ve put in the effort. You decided to save up for a special trip, cutting back on little luxuries. The journey, when it finally came, was worth every skipped latte. It wasn’t just a trip; it was an earned experience.

Reflecting on our candy capers and work woes, what’s the lesson? Choices matter. And every choice has a ripple effect. I believe that understanding and accepting the consequences of our actions is key to a good life.

Well, Galatians 6:7 tells us, “A man reaps what he sows.” Simply put, our choices plant seeds, and sooner or later, we’ll see what grows. Adam and Eve? Their choice had consequences, but it also set the stage for redemption, for learning, for growth.

Life’s price tags aren’t just about what we pay but what we learn. So, next time you’re faced with a choice, think about the cost, not just in the moment, but down the road.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. For a week, note down significant choices you make. From food to time management, jot it all.
  2. Reflect on these choices. What were the immediate and potential long-term costs?
  3. Challenge yourself to make a choice opposite to your instinct. Observe the outcome.
  4. Compare a day filled with mindful choices against a regular day. Notice any differences in outcomes or feelings?
  5. Imagine if you continued one bad habit for a year. What would be its cost? Now, think of a good habit for the same duration.
  6. Before making a significant choice, pause and ask, “Why am I doing this? What’s the price, and am I willing to pay?”

The Sweet Flavor of Overcoming Bad Habits

Now, imagine this. You’ve broken that pesky habit. You’ve worked hard. How’s that feel? Incredible, right? It’s like scoring the final basket – sheer joy! That’s the taste of true achievement, my friend.

Let’s take a moment and dream a little. Think about that one habit that’s been bugging you, the one you’ve been wrestling with. Now, imagine you’ve finally kicked it to the curb. Feels like a slam dunk in the final seconds of the game, doesn’t it? That rush, that elation? That’s what overcoming challenges tastes like.

Picture yourself trying to save money. Every day, there’s a little voice saying, “Treat yourself! Just one more online purchase won’t hurt.” But this time, you resist. You start saving, bit by bit. Months fly by, and one day, you see your savings account. It’s not a small number anymore. That pride, that sense of accomplishment? That’s your victory dance.

Or maybe, you’ve always wanted to start a morning routine: a little exercise, some reading, perhaps even meditation. The first few days, the bed feels way too comfy, but you push through. Weeks in, it’s no longer a struggle; it’s a part of you. And the energy, the clarity you feel throughout the day? That’s your championship trophy.

But let’s flip the coin. Remember that time you wanted to cut back on junk food? You started strong but gave in to the allure of crispy fries. The momentary pleasure was great, but the after-feeling, not so much. That wasn’t defeat; it was just a stumble. Because every stumble is a step closer to getting it right.

Looking back at our savings and morning routine successes, what stands out? It’s not just the end result but the journey, the hurdles, the persistence. The Stoics teach us that it’s our actions, our perseverance in the face of challenges, that define us.

James 1:12, says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life.” It’s not just about overcoming, but about growing and becoming better through the process.

So, here’s a thought to roll around in your head: Achievements aren’t just about reaching the finish line; they’re about cherishing the marathon that got you there.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. Spend a week noting down your small victories. It could be as simple as choosing water over soda.
  2. At the end of the week, reflect on how each victory made you feel. Did some feel more rewarding than others?
  3. For a day, purposely choose the easier route. How does that compare to when you push yourself?
  4. Compare a “victory day” to a regular day. Spot any differences in mood or self-esteem?
  5. What if you celebrated every small win for a month? How would that change your outlook?
  6. Before making a choice, ask, “Why am I doing this? Is it for the instant gratification or the long-term win?”

Making Choices That Count

In the end, life’s about choices. Choose wisely. Set boundaries. Remember, just as the Bible says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” So, challenge the norm, ask “why”, and take charge.

Life, when you boil it down, is like a buffet. There’s a lot on offer, but not everything is good for the tummy. You’ve got to choose wisely, kinda like picking between a fresh salad and that questionable sushi that’s been out too long.

Imagine you’re at a party, and there’s a karaoke machine. Everyone’s urging you to sing that high-pitched song that’s a surefire way to embarrass yourself. Peer pressure’s knocking, but you remember past experiences and opt for a fun, easy-going tune instead. You have a blast, and there’s no morning-after cringe.

Think about those times when everyone’s binge-watching that popular show that’s all the rage. But deep down, you feel it’s not your cup of tea. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, you dive into a book or a hobby you genuinely love. You feel content, enriched, and authentic to yourself.

Now, recall a time you went with the flow, despite your gut feeling. Maybe it was trying out that funky diet everyone was raving about, only to feel miserable and hungry all the time. That was a lesson, wasn’t it? Following the crowd doesn’t always lead to the promised land.

Reflecting on our karaoke nights and TV choices, there’s a golden thread: listening to your inner compass. The Stoics emphasized the importance of living in line with one’s true nature and values.

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” It’s an age-old reminder to discern and decide what truly enriches our lives, rather than blindly following the herd.

In the grand buffet of life, it’s not about trying everything on the table but savoring what truly nourishes the soul.

Do these actionable steps:

  1. For a week, make a note of choices you made because “everyone else was doing it.”
  2. Reflect on those choices. Were they in line with your values and interests?
  3. For a day, purposely make choices opposite to popular opinion. Observe how it feels.
  4. Compare a day of authentic choices versus one where you went with the flow. Spot any differences in satisfaction?
  5. What if you lived a month entirely on your terms? How would that shape your daily life?
  6. Before jumping on any trend or choice, pause and ask, “Why am I doing this? Is it for me or because of others?”
Joy de Guzman
Joy de Guzman

Joy de Guzman is a freelancer and blogger who writes about productivity and self-improvement. Joy is the founder and editor of Plus63Media, a one-person media business that focuses on productivity, consistency, and result.

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