Wednesday, 25 March 2015


"The chains of habit are generally too weak to be felt, until they are too strong to be broken".- Samuel Johnson.

From the time I grew and  understood what it meant to have a new year's resolution, I always dedicated two weeks to the start of every new year to carefully draft my new year's "do's and don'ts". It will interest you to know that by the time the new year hits the quarterly mark, it was either I had failed in fulfilling the things I promised to do and excelled exceptionally at doing the things I vowed not to do in the new year. New year resolutions are probably not my style. Looking at these little notes of my resolutions, I realized that the problem was not that my resolutions for the new year were herculean; the problem was with my attitude and thus my habit. It is a herculean task breaking from a habit be it good or especially bad. A friend of mine said "if you took "H" out of HABIT you still had "A BIT"; when you took out the "A", you still had "BIT" of that habit and even after taking out the "B" you were left with "IT". This was his simple way of explaining how difficult it was breaking free from a habit. I cannot agree more with Tryon Edwards when he posited that "Any act often repeated soon forms a habit; and a habit allowed, steadily gains in strength, at first it may be but as a spider's web, easily broken through, but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel". I have come to notice that our habits go a long way in determining how our lives pan out. The habits we exhibit in life, be it at work, in our relationships, or even our commitments go a long way to define who we are and these same habits are the "measuring rod" used by others to define us. It is very expedient to hold on to our good habits although the bad ones tend to gain all the attention. Breaking from a bad habit has never been easy. William Somerset Maugham shared the same view when he said that "The unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones". Take me for instance, I tend to have the habit of daydreaming and wishful thinking about how I want to build myself a castle and live in it. This habit of mine started to decline when I read Mary Martin's quote: "Stop the habit of wishful thinking and start the habit of thoughtful wishes". It was one of the quotes that got me to start writing. Determination is the catch word needed to break bad habits and polish good ones. Most of our habits are picked up from infancy and sometimes I do not really put the blame on us for some habits we picked up per what we saw our parents or other grown-ups do. Therefore going forward we can take a cue from this quote "In early childhood you may lay the foundation of poverty or riches, industry of idleness, good or evil, by the habits to which you train your children. Teach them right habits then, and their future life is safe" (Lydia Sigourney). We sometimes take our actions for granted and fail to realize that our bad actions, repeated over time become some sort of reflexes and breaking free from them are sometimes close to impossible. Our habits determine our level of mental growth and would normally determine our general well-being and development. People who are in the habit of constantly keeping untidy environments tend to suffer from hygiene-related diseases. Our habits are sometimes non-negotiable because the way you would behave or act at home would to a high extent be the same way you would behave outside home. This is because habits are acquired reactions, they just do not happen. Our habits are our mirrors, one little crack and then it loses it beauty and this is made clear in this excerpt "A single bad habit will mar an otherwise faultless character, as an ink-drop soils the pure white page". (Hosea Ballou). Habits contribute in no small way to success because if you would reflect carefully, you would come to the realization that the people and groups that are doing well in terms of development owe part of their success to their habit. Let us all endeavour to do away with our bad actions that grow into habits and take it upon ourselves to harness and develop our positive actions which would invariably translate into positive habits. Bad habits are not easy to break but let us all be motivated by Dr. Rob Gilbert's observation that "First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they will eventually conquer you". My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is one big R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT)
More at

No comments:

Post a Comment