The importance of good habits

               A well-bred woman has a desire to conduct herself properly and treat others politely throughout the seasons and years.  She nobly clings to her ideal standards and convictions even when it may seem to make little difference in the moment.   So many people act selfishly and thoughtlessly here in the land of the free that it can be tempting to return sarcasm for a snide remark, excessive umbrage over a hurtful remark, cold aloofness for foolishness, or tailgating for being cut off in traffic!   However, I prefer to think of life as an ever changing garden tended by each precious woman who puts her hand forth to create beauty, order, and fruitful abundance.  In doing so, I realize that each moment matters, and while no one is perfect, one should pay attention to the habits, formed by daily acts, that will eventually lead to either personal growth or personal inhibition.

               A habit is both a giant and small endeavor.   It is big because if one succeeds at forming a years-spanning good habit, it is truly a momentous task!  Yet a habit can only be formed and maintained by the continual decision, though small, to stay with a particular resolution or method.   For example, a woman may have decided that in order to look more feminine, she will always leave the house with at least a little makeup on, hair fixed instead of just thrown in a pony tail, and shoes other than gym shoes or sneakers.   She may have been implementing these new choices for several weeks or months, but then one day she is terribly worn out, behind schedule, and frazzled.   Since she is clean and well groomed, she may decide to skip the makeup that day (or find that in her haste she simply forgot it).   Exceptions are normal and I would not consider that to be breaking a habit or starting a new one.   But, it does become easier each time an exception is made to make another and another and another.   If this particular woman does not begin making the time to tend to herself in the manner that she had determined she wanted to and continues to let her standards slip, the habit of always looking a little dressy when going out will soon fade away.   It is the tiny steps each day–those extra 45 seconds to apply mascara, the minute or two of thought that goes into choosing a becoming hairstyle other than a pony tail, and the effort, hardly more in this case, to grab a serviceable pair of flats, sandals, or boots instead of sports shoes–that create the bigger, overall picture of a woman looking pulled together and stylish every day of the week.

               Thinking about a habit only in terms of how easy it is to break simply by letting the tiny, daily steps slide can be depressing.   To look at the other side of the matter, imagine the fortress of stability that could eventually be built by choosing a small action each day or each time one is in a certain situation.   For example, a woman may feel stressed out by her short temper and her inability to take a step back and let things roll off instead of letting everything bother her.   She may find herself constantly getting irritated with others;   whether or not the others “deserved” her irritation is not the point, as a classy, well-bred woman controls her temper and emotions and avoids harboring petty feelings and anxiety, especially over the actions of others whom she does not control.   When faced with this defect in her personality, she may feel very overwhelmed at the thought of changing into a calm, peaceful, serene, happy person who takes everything in stride and is not easily ruffled.   So instead of choosing to completely overhaul her entire self, she may decide to try reacting differently in just a few situations, for example, when confronted by just one of the people who set her on edge.   Or she may try to respond properly one day a week, or just whenever the thought that she needs to change occurs to her.   But each time she is able to stay focused and calm, and laugh off or ignore the triggering behavior of others instead of letting it get to her, she makes it that much easier to react properly again in the future.

               If you cannot change everything, change something.   Think of each small decision, each daily victory, as a tiny seed planted in a garden, or a drop of nourishing water or sunbeam;  over time and with the nurture of further correct decisions, your attitude or project or relationship or goal will blossom into a beautiful bloom of success.   You reap what you sow.

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