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What Makes Us Humans So Un-Self-Manageable?

Scandalized by change... our habits are brawny and resist modification.

Mandala

I
am writing this in early January… tis the season for New Year’s
resolutions. Oy.

Self-betterment.
A noble idea. Gyms and health clubs across the country, await the
bonanza of early January. New memberships pour in. Ditto for the
many diet-plan endeavors. Fired-up… enthusiastic… we charge into
our ‘new, improved me’ program(s).

Or
we charge into contemplating our ‘new, improved me’ program(s).
“Maybe I shouldn’t be so hasty.” “Remember what happened last
time.” “And the time before that.”

Nine
and a half times out of ten ‘resolutions’ actually means ‘changing
habits’. Another Oy. Big Oy.

‘I
am going to eat better’ = changing my habit of noshing on double
chocolate ice cream bars and crackers slathered in cream cheese while
watching TV after dinner. (Both so tasty.) ‘I am going to get more
exercise’ = changing my habit of staying in bed reading news on my
phone in the morning instead of going for an early walk. (If it
doesn’t happen early, it ain’t gonna happen at all.) ‘I am going to
read more books’ = changing my evening habit of watching whatever I
find on Netflix streaming until my eyelids fall down. ‘I am going to
write daily’ = rather than playing online games or cruising facebook.

Yesterday,
I stood at the open fridge door perusing lunch options. That red
cabbage slaw with shredded beets and carrots would be a healthy
choice. (Lots of fiber.) Or… oh look! There’s still some
stuffing and gravy from Christmas dinner!

Why
is it so hard to choose the cabbage slaw over the turkey stuffing?
To choose healthy eating over comfort food? Why am I fighting myself
to do what I know is ‘right’? It’s just me and me here… where does
all this resistance come from?

As
I contemplate what I ‘should’ do versus what I ‘want’ to do… I
can’t help but wonder… what makes us humans so un-self-manageable?

If
I say this is what I want to do!! Why do I, in fact, just go
ahead and do what I’ve always done? Why do I find such ‘comfort’ in
the ‘I’ve always done’? Who is resisting who, here? (Yeah, who?)
Why is this so hard?

Wellll
. . . changing habits… altering personal behavior… is an easy
thought for my mental self to entertain, “What a great idea!!
Let’s do it! Let’s change!” However, a much more complex reaction
is triggered in my physical and emotional bodies. My physical body
goes, “Huh? Ugh.” My emotional self says, “Do what!?!
Nah… I don’t wanna.” There it is! The resistance. Alive and
well inside my own fine self.

The
fundamental reason we humans find it hard to ‘just change’… to make
more healthy choices… is because our habits live an ongoing Life of
their own. They have a strong preference to keep it that way.
Fortified by years (decades) of our own choices and actions… habits
like things exactly the way they are. Scandalized by
change… our habits are brawny and resist modification.

Habit
cuts a channel thru the psyche. A channel into which a lot of
‘personal choice’ simply drains.

Years
ago, I came across this online . . .

I
am your constant companion.

I
am your greatest helper, or your heaviest burden.

I
will push you onward, or drag you down to failure.

I
am completely at your command.

Half
of the things you do you might as well turn over to me,

And
I will do them ~ quickly & correctly.

I
am easily managed ~ you must be firm with me.

Show
me exactly how you want something done

And
after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I
am the servant of great people, and alas, of all failures as well.

Those
who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have
made failures.

I
am not a machine, tho I work with the precision of a machine,

Plus
the intelligence of a person.

You
may run me for profit, or you may run me for ruin ~ it makes no
difference to me.

Take
me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your
feet.

Be
easy with me, and I will destroy you.

Who
am I?

I
am habit.

Attributed
to ‘Anonymous’… this presents some powerful insightful. “I will
build you up or I will tear you down. Makes no difference to me.”

Our
habits are dug in deep. Calcified. Resistant to change. “Oh just
put it off. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. What’s the rush?” “Next
week is even better.” “How about next year?”

Ahhhh…
procrastination… the intimate cohort of resistance.

Procrastination
is not the ally it pretends to be.

“I’ll
read that later.” “I’ll sort that drawer later.” “I’ll
answer those emails later.” Later never comes. You are not going
to have any more time ‘later’… to read… sort… write… than you
have right now. (No matter how good procrastination makes ‘later’
sound.) ‘Later’ will already be full of its own… reading…
sorting… writing.

Habits.
Procrastination. Observations about living a human Life. Some of
my favorite. I see all these truths about habit and procrastination.
I grok them. If my self-management skills were more muscular, I
could maybe actually do something about them. Seems less than likely
in this Life. I wish you the very best.

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