One of my most vivid early memories is of my dad driving and using the turn signal. This is weird, I know. I just remember thinking to myself, “O my gosh, someday when I drive I’m going to have to use a turn signal every time I drive!? How do people remember to do this?”
Flash forward to now and I realize that many people do not use turn signals (you know who you are) and I use mine without even thinking about it. Literally. I don’t know why this struck me the other day but I realized that without any conscious effort I flip the turn signal on and off when I’m driving. You do it too (hopefully). How cool is it that we can get a good habit so ingrained in us that we do it without even thinking? I think it’s pretty amazing.
When all of this came together in my head, I started to think: what other things are so ingrained in me that I do them without conscious thought? And then I got serious, what bad habits do I have that I do without even realizing it? It’s scary, isn’t it? Scary that we can get so used to doing something that it becomes not just second nature or easy, but it seems to become a part of who we actually are.
One of my bad habits has been to be short and rude when the people close to me ask me questions. For whatever reason, I cultivated this into a unconscious habit that I’m only now starting to understand and break. I love what Tom Ziglar and Jim Rohn say about habit and success:
The fastest way to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit.
For me, this means teaching myself to take a quick second when I’m questioned and actually listen instead of going straight to annoyed. This is hard. Like really hard. But then I remember back when I thought that using a turn signal every time I turn was incredibly daunting but now I do it without thinking. We all have things that used to be hard for us and now they are easy. Draw on this experience to overcome your bad habits and create new ones. I’ve created new good habits and so have you. We can do it again. And again.