If you would have asked me a few weeks ago what a habit was, I would have said something you do without thinking.
I now see that was good definition but I didn’t realize that I was the one who was in control of all of my habits. I was their slave because I had allow them to master me.
No one says if better than Og Mandino in Greatest Salesmans In The World, he talks about the power of new and good habits, “for when an act becomes easy through constant repetition it become a pleasure to perform and if it is a pleasure to perform it is man’s nature to perform it often. When I perform it often it become a habit and I become its slave.”
Now lets break that down. Good or bad, habits are easier to do than not to do, so bad habits open doors to failure and good habits to success. For example, I had a habit of allowing my car to become messy with stuff. My back seats became so packed with stuff no one could even sit there. My floor board became my trash can and I just let my trash pile up there, it was a mess.
It had become a bad habit, but it happen because I let it become a habit. I would toss books, papers and magazines that I knew I would need in the back set of my car every day, I would just drop hamburger wrappers or receipts in my floor board and because I did it daily (constant repetition) it became a “pleasure to perform.” Pleasure may seem like a strong term, but let me just say it became the easy thing to do and we always enjoy doing the easy thing, so it is a pleasure. The result, my car was a mess. My wife was always commenting on it and I was embarrassed with someone saw it. I did clean it out from time to time but it never stayed that way because I had formed a habit and I was it’s slave.
But this week it all changed, I cleaned my car out as I had before, but I didn’t stop there. I now have started a new habit of keeping it clean. I bought a briefcase to keep the books and papers I needed organized and in one place not just tossed in a set. I no longer put my trash in my floorboard, instead I throw it away at my first stop. When I arrive home for the evening, I will not allow anything to stay in my car that is not in the briefcase. I throw away trash, and I either place thing in the briefcase or bring into the house, I make sure it is clean before I go into the house. Now this is a new habit, and so at this point I’m still developing the habit through constant repetition but I am developing the habit and I know that soon it will become a pleasure to preform and then it will become my nature to preform it and I will become a slave to this new and good habit.
Now will a cleaning car change my life? No, but learning to replace a bad habit with a good habit will. This is only the first habit of many I will change, and over time these changes will change my life. As Og says, “Good habits are the key to all success,” and I now know how to change ANY bad habit into a good habit and this is why my life will never be the same. I am a new man with a new life.