Is it Possible to Change Old Habits? Habits play a crucial part in life.
The personality of a person is determined by his habits. Good habits make a person gentle, genial and great while bad habits deform and disfigure a personality.
Everyone is aware of the importance of habits and many wish to change their bad habits in order to improve their character, traits and personality.
However, people complain that they find it well nigh impossible to uproot their deeply ingrained bad habits.
This is a counsel of despair and is not true. It is, of course, difficult to uproot and change bad habits, but it is not impossible. If a person is determined and musters the requisite willpower, he can certainly succeed in his efforts.
What is a habit?
It is a mental rut created by mechanical repetition of a task. The tyres of a car travelling on a muddy road make a distinct impression. Similarly, the repetition of a task makes an impression on the mind.
The more we repeat a task, the deeper becomes the impression. Every habit, thus, gets firmly fixed in the mind.
A habit can be uprooted by steadily and persistently working against it.
Just as performing a task again and again creates a habit, performing an opposite task again and again eliminates it.
If the mind forces you towards the old habit, gently but firmly divert it towards the positive habit you want to imbibe instead. It is always easy to go back to old habits and therefore the mind gets effortlessly inclined towards them.
The formation of a new habit is therefore very difficult initially. However, with repeated performance, it takes roots and becomes a part of ones nature.
The refinement of gross and perverse tendencies in a persons personality or bad manners in his conduct is possible only by long-term practice and unwavering determination.
Every self-confident person, if he wishes, can dramatically change for the better his mentality and outward conduct through regular practice.
Children are particularly vulnerable to easily imbibe good or bad habits. They constantly imitate the habits of people they come into contact with. To make our children well-mannered, cultured and responsible citizens, it is necessary that we ourselves present an example of an ideal conduct before them so that they can follow in our footsteps and enrich their lives with inspiration and enthusiasm.
If parents exhibit laziness or misbehaviour in their conduct (for example in getting up late in the morning, conversing rudely with people, making inappropriate gestures, etc.), then how can we expect their children, who remain with them for 15-16 hours a day, become civilised and well-mannered?
To an extent we ourselves determine the environment around us. A cultured person will keep his things in an orderly and appropriate way. His shoes, clothes, hat and even his comb would be clean and tidy.
There would be no dirt on his shoes; his clothes would be ironed and folded neatly. He would appear attractive with simple limited set of clothes compared to an untidy person with a overstuffed wardrobe of costly clothes. He would attain happiness with minimum expenditure. He would not be consumed with the desire to possess a palatial house. In a small house, or even a room, he would live a rich, refined, cultured and caring life. Good manners do not mean how we verbally interact with other people; they mean that we conduct ourselves with dignity, humility and warmth.
You may ask: how can one say that I am conducting myself in a reprehensible and disorderly manner? It is easy and self evident. You know that by waking up regularly, exercising the body regularly, having health-giving eating habits, remaining tension-free and taking a good rest to keep the body vibrant and healthy. But alas! How many people can control their eating preferences? In todays hectic lifestyle, how many can remain tension-free? In the mad race for earning more and more money, people have become careless with respect to their health. Many people have enough wealth, which permits them good lifestyle, food, clothes and palatial house.
Yet they remain in a state of perpetual tension and agitation. Thus we live in a self created hell.. Other examples of self-destructive habits are to watch a movie even though the eyesight is weak; to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol knowing well the damaging effects it has on the body; etc.
It becomes the bounden duty of mature and responsible members of society to be vigilant against imbibing ruinous habits and guide and inspire their children by personal example to grow into healthy, happy caring and warm-hearted citizens