These last several months have been a time of deep reflection. Some of it I suspect is due to lacking the normal distractions, since I’ve spent nearly the past year inside, riding out the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s harder to hide from truths. Even really painful ones.
I’ve managed to identify a number of personal habits I want to work on. Some of them I’m making excellent progress on. This is especially true when it comes to the most simple ones. The habits that are more about action and organization — and not something more loaded like, say, maladaptive emotional coping or self-defeating self-talk.
It’s hard to change such things, even once you identify that you want to. Because even if those thoughts or behaviors are no longer serving you (and may in fact be harming you or your relationships), there’s a reason you have them.
It’s how you cope. It’s how you explain the world to yourself.
And getting rid of them? Well, it often creates a void. It revives problems that perhaps you haven’t thought about in ages.
Bad habits are like an ill-fitting patch covering a hole. Typically, even the worst patch is doing something and is better than nothing at all.
True, it’s possible that — to follow the analogy — the materials are damaging the surrounding wall (or something like that).
But ripping off the patch isn’t attractive. Because you immediately have a giant hole there.
And unlike the analogy, it’s tough to create another fix to slap in place. Not without your coping mechanisms. Which often leaves you trying to create replacement strategies while you’re still doing your old bad habits.
And lemme tell you… multitasking ain’t easy.
Anyway, it’s something I contend with a lot, every time I want to make a big change. I find myself worrying that I’ll make the situation worse when I get rid of the bad habit.