The following riddle is by an author unknown. See if you can solve it before the answer is revealed at the end. This work is a piece of genius.
I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well turn over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed –
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people;
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great,
I have made great.
Those who are failures,
I have made failures.
I am not a machine,
though I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.
be firm with me,
And I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me,
and I will destroy you.
WHO AM I?
I AM HABIT.
After much prodding from my wife Nora I completed Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before. I thought it was good, and I walked away with a healthy respect for Gretchen’s passion for constructive habits. Of course, I agree 100% that the habit is one of the most powerful tools we have to optimize all areas of our life. If we are going to be successful in our quest to be “self-optimized” we are going to need to master habit formation.
In her book Better Than Before Gretchen Ruben explains that habit formation does not require repetition, constant will power, or self control. She says that it requires a choice. Make the choice once and then stick with it. Then you can stop deciding/wrestling each time the Reminder / Stimulus / Temptation comes along. You have already made the choice. Easy. No will power required. Habit formed.
Where I Am in This?
I’d say in terms of habit formation I am a solid C+. I have been a solid B+ in the past but I lost a lot of my routines when I was knocked off my horse by some tough life stuff. It has been a lot harder than I ever thought getting back in the saddle again, though thanks to Jamie, I am at least getting to the gym again.
For a while I was using a app (iOS) called Balanced that is designed to build habits. It is an excellent app and it really helped me back in my B+ days. Balanced is nothing more than a checklist that resets. So you can set habitual tasks to do every day, every 3 days, every week, etc. You make the decision, keep it up, check it off, and presto – habit formed.
This worked well for me in the past and I want to restore that discipline.
The habits I want to form are:
– Pray 10 minutes each morning
– Meditate 10 minutes each morning
– Clean 10 minutes each morning
– Read (or listen to audio version) of Scripture 10 minutes every morning
– Hit the Gym 3 days a week
– Drink at least 3 large glasses of water daily
– Journal Daily
– Make it through each day without consuming sweets
– Bed by 10 PM
That last one is so important. I find that if I do not get enough sleep I am setting myself up for failure. Gretchen Rubin reinforces this her book Better than Before. She emphasizes the importance of setting a bed time and sticking to it. Since Jamie and I are hitting the gym at 5:30 AM I need that beauty sleep!
I am going to go back to using the Balanced app and I am going to build these habits. I’ll let you know how it goes!
- Goal Oriented: + (establishing goals)
- Effectiveness: + (positive habit formation)
See what positive habits you can establish today!