Saturday, January 19, 2013

Breaking Habits

I’ve set myself on a mission to break a bad habit of mine. Since the details of what my habit is really isn’t important, and the principle of breaking a habit is relatively universal, I’m going to code name it “plucking my eyebrows”, which is something I actually should develop a consistent habit of, but I’ll deal with that another time.
So I never used to have an issue with not “plucking my eyebrows”. I knew other people did it, and some people could even say they were a bit addicted to it. But it was never something I was interested in. In all of my growing up years I had been told that I should never “pluck my eyebrows” and so I didn’t. I remember a time or two in my youth wondering why anyone would “pluck their eyebrows” and trying to analyze it, but never had been tempted to try myself.
After I moved to Georgia, I found myself feeling a bit tempted to “pluck my eyebrows”. In hindsight (which, as we all know, is 20/20), I see exactly where I “fell off the wagon” so to speak and when “plucking my eyebrows” became more than just a thought. I started “plucking my eyebrows” (wow, it sounds really bizarre, doesn’t it??), and ended up doing so for a while. I fell into a routine, almost, and “plucked my eyebrows” regularly. There were days that I felt like I couldn’t do anything else unless I “plucked my eyebrows”. I hated that feeling more than almost anything; that I wasn’t in charge of myself – I allowed myself to be driven by this “thing”. Luckily, I snapped out of this funk quickly. It lasted only about 2 or 3 weeks. Telling myself that I would no longer “pluck my eyebrows” was the easy thing. I was surprised how quickly I had become hooked on this, addicted (and it seems strong to say it that way, but I really feel like I was addicted to it). I found that I thought about it a lot more than I realized. And I found even more often that things would make me think about “plucking my eyebrows”. It seemed the harder I tried to leave this habit behind, the tighter it tried to cling to me. And things that were completely unrelated somehow seemed to now be directly linked to “plucking my eyebrows”.
It was a really hard thing to break! I learned what things were triggers for me. I found that just sitting and watching TV was a trigger, especially if it was not uplifting and clean. I found that for me, personally, Satan had great influence on me in the form of the media. I stopped watching, or more correctly, limited time spent watching, TV for other reasons and to reach other goals, but breaking the habit of “plucking my eyebrows” was directly impacted because of this. If I permitted myself to watch things that weren’t the cleanest shows, or in some cases that were openly in opposition to things I believed, I could feel my resolve to break this habit weaken. I used to be happy when I would make it a week or two without really thinking about “plucking my eyebrows”, but when I told myself that I just needed to make it one more week, that somehow translated in my brain to “I can ‘pluck my eyebrows’ in a week”. So I stopped setting those types of milestones.
For me, I had to say, “I will no longer ‘pluck my eyebrows’, now matter what”. Now as I make it a week or two (or over a month now!!) without “plucking my eyebrows” or really thinking about it or being reminded that I used to “pluck my eyebrows” regularly, I congratulate myself on what I have done, but I don’t look to what I have yet to do because this isn’t something that is going to stop. I will NEVER “pluck my eyebrows” again. I have a friend who is currently trying to quit smoking and she has shared similar thoughts on her struggle to break that habit. She has been smoking for several years. I have a friend who also has an issue with “plucking his eyebrows” (now it sounds a little funny) and hasn’t been able to stop despite a desire to do so – and he’s also been dealing with it for years. I only was in my “habit” for a matter of weeks and I found it (and continue to find it) to be extremely difficult. I can’t imagine trying to break a habit after YEARS!
February starts my month of no chocolate (so I guess I will find out what it’s like to try to break a years-long habit). I imagine I will struggle with breaking that habit. But I know from breaking myself from “plucking my eyebrows” that it isn’t easy, but that it is possible and entirely worth it.
If you have a habit, whether it’s something you shouldn’t be doing, or something you would just rather not be doing, start now. Make a determination that you will be in control of yourself and that you will not permit yourself to be controlled because of an addiction, a desire, a feeling, or anything else.  And if you need someone to cheer you on, call me! I’m happy to be in your corner!

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