About habits and breaking them

I used to drive to work, but almost a year ago, we had to let go of our car and decided not to buy a new one. I started the school semester riding my bike to work.

I soon discovered that I love to ride my bike. It gives me a feeling of freedom, at the same time as it helps me wake up before my day and get some exercise and fresh air after my work day. I have even bought tires with spikes for the Winter.

Some weeks ago, I had to walk instead of riding my bike. Just for some days, I thought but I soon remembered how much I love walking, especially during the Spring. I listen to an audiobook or a podcast or I simply use the time to either get mentally ready for the day or digest and let go of my work day before reaching home. So for four or more weeks, I have resisted to the idea of riding my bike again.

Today, I was running late for work, so with a bit of regret for not having been more efficient in the morning, I decided to ride my bike. It didn’t take long before I felt again the happiness and freedom it gives me. On my way back home, I started thinking about how I couldn’t understand why I had stopped riding my bike in the first place. I had to laugh a bit when I realised this thought.

When I walk, I don’t want to go back to riding my bike, when I ride my bike, I don’t understand why I had stopped biking in the first place.

I think this is a very simple example of how my mind creates habits, and how difficult they can be to break. It isn’t really a very big deal whether I walk or ride my bike, but it certainly reflects my fondness for habits. Habits can be good, they can help us develop discipline and have a healthy routine, but habits can also create stress and distress, either because they are born without us being aware of them or because we get attached to them.

The first happens, I think, when we forget to stop and ask ourselves ‘why’. Why do I do this? Why do I do it like this? It often happens when we come into new situations without a clear idea of what we want or what our role is, or as a consequence of our fast paced life. I think someone said thoughts become actions and actions become habits. It doesn’t take much before we create new habits.

Habits can create distress when circumstances push us to change them and we resist to this change. Few people like change, but luckily most of us are able to see the new possibilities after the first discomfort has passed.

This little bike vs walk story has reminded me to mind my habits. Take a look at what I do and why I do it. Can I work towards letting go of some? Can I change some? Can I create new ones?

I have one that I have been having the intention to create, but keep forgetting: talk less. 😀

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