We are governed by our habits
“Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.” – Agatha Christie
Habits make or break us to a far greater extent than we like to admit. Habit is both a powerful enemy and wonderful ally of concentration. You must learn to overcome habits which are injurious to concentration, and to cultivate those which increase it.
The large majority of people are controlled by their habits and are buffeted around by them like waves of the ocean tossing a piece of wood. They do things in a certain way because of the power of habit. They seldom ever think of concentrating on why they do them this or that way, or study to see if they could do them in a better way. You will find that by making a few needed changes you can make even those that are not good for you, of service; the good habits you can make much better.
The will governs our habits
The first thing you must realize is that all habits are governed consciously or unconsciously by the will. Most of us are forming new habits all the time. Very often, if you repeat something several times in the same way, you will have formed the habit of doing it that way. But the oftener you repeat it the stronger that habit grows and the more deeply it becomes embedded in your nature. After a habit has been in force for a long time, it becomes almost a part of you, and is therefore hard to overcome. But you can still break any habit by strong concentration on its opposite.
As we grow older most of us become more and more like automatic machines. The habits we have formed increase in strength. We work in our old characteristic way. Your associates learn to expect you to do things in a certain way. So you see that your habits make a great difference in your life, and as it is just about as easy to form good habits as it is bad, you should form only the former. No one but yourself is responsible for your habits. You are free to form the habits that you should and if everyone could realize the importance of forming the right kind of habits what a different world this would be. How much happier everyone would be. Then all instead of the few might win success.
Habits are formed more quickly when we are young, but if we have already passed the youthful plastic period the time to start to control our habits is right now, as we will never be any younger.
Overcoming bad habits
In order to overcome undesirable habits, two things are necessary. You must have trained your will to do what you want it to do, and the stronger the will the easier it will be to break a habit. Then you must make a resolution to do just the opposite of what the habit is. Therefore one habit must replace another. If you have a strong will, you can tenaciously and persistently concentrate on removing the bad habit and in a very short time the good habit will gain the upper hand.