“Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters.” -Nathaniel Emmons
The average human mind can think around fifty thousand thoughts per day, give or take a thousand. Even though this mental phenomenon has been calculated, we still don’t know exactly how many thoughts a person has the capacity to think – it could be as high as one hundred thousand daily.
The question I find myself asking is, “How many times must a thought occur for us to act on it?” Nobody knows how often a thought must be thought before a thought becomes an action. We also don’t know how many times we must engage in an action before it becomes a habit. Some experts believe that a new habit can be made in about month.
I remember watching my children seriously contemplating taking that tricky first step. I remember the look on their pre-walking faces and I believed I saw definite mental processing occurring beneath the surface of each quizzical baby expression. Were they thinking about taking a step?
It would be interesting to know how many times a baby thinks about taking a step before acting on the thought. I wonder if it’s in the thousands by the time thirty days pass. I believe taking a step is a thought we all still have thousands of times, as adults, but we have all developed the habit of walking so we don’t have to think hard about the steps we take.
We do have to think harder and more often about any new habit we want to develop. I’m a skilled and talented walker, I can even weave a grapevine, but if I want to be a skilled runner – that would take more and different steps for me to learn.
We can use our thoughts productively to create the habits we want. We can step into a new way of behaving by starting with a new goal. One simple way to get moving towards a new goal is to make a Habit Box.
Make a Habit Box:
Type up or write down or cut out positive words or phrases which will help you think about the habit you plan to create. Separate the positive phrases and fold each one in half. Make thirty. Find a box and make it your own. Put your folded phrases into the habit box and take one out daily for positive reinforcement. This process will help you move a thought into an action.
“You cannot run away from a weakness. You must sometime fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now and where you stand?” -Robert Louis Stevenson.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.
Better By Monday is a blog about one thing you can do, over the weekend, to feel a little bit better by Monday.