I’ve been thinking a lot about habits recently. Do old habits really die hard?
Some habits are healthy – you know the ones; early morning quiet time, exercise, evening examen, making sandwiches when you go to work (is that still a thing!?) instead of buying them, carving out time for self-care and double checking the doors are locked (although I then tend to triple, quadruple and quintuple check).
Some habits are less healthy; picking your nose, having a biscuit at every morning break, staying up late, having a flutter on the lottery when you are at the shop, you know the score.
Ultimately healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones – through practice.
So many of my habits and rhythms have been wrecked by Covid, or by having young children, or by both! I find that good habits are hard to start and way too easy to kill. And bad habits are easy to start and then way too difficult to kill! Am I alone in that? But I do thank God that bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.
Emerging from Lockdown 3.0 where life PC (pre-Covid) seems like little more than a blurry distant memory, it appears that now presents a real opportunity to set a “new normal” in our habits and rhythms.
One habit that I’ve let slip is always participating in Church Online live on a Sunday morning. Sometimes, this is for good reason, now that Maddy is back at work and we’ve got girls to juggle. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I’m just not in the habit. Before you send complaint emails don’t panic – I do always catch up on Church later in the week! But right now I’m figuring out how we can reprioritise the Sunday morning space as a family for participating in Church live, in anticipation of some form of in-person gatherings commencing on Sunday mornings again in due course.
I’m reminded of Hebrews 10:25 which challenges us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. I’m a bit out of habit but if I’m serious about getting back into some kind of physical space on a Sunday morning, I need to get back in the habit now.
Warren Buffett says that “chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”. It’s a bit like the “slowly” then “suddenly” we so often experience in life.
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. Having climbed the relentlessly steep, seemingly never-ending rugged slopes of a global pandemic, it feels like we might soon be seeing our first glimpses of the view that awaits us on the other side. I’m going to take a few deep breathes in this poignant moment to look back, and look forward, in this rare moment of clarity. It seems to me that there has never been a better opportunity to reprioritise what is most important in life. May God Bless you in this moment.