We have started to run out of supplies on the boat. First the milk and now the water is getting low. I am thrown into a slight panic as the last of the milk goes. I have to have milk in my tea, it’s my habit.
Such is the power of our habits. We have our daily rituals and a certain way of opening and closing our day. Lately I have enjoyed forming new habits; one of them is an Ayurvedic treatment of starting each day with lemon and hot water, followed by scraping my tongue which actually makes me want to gag.
How long does it take to form a habit? Answers to this vary but it would seem if you did something over twenty days consecutively then you will have done it enough to rewire your brain to accept the action as part of your daily toolbox. Every year gyms see a surge in memberships in the New Year. However not everyone commits to a constant practice so a few months into their commitment they stop going.
When does a habit become ‘bad’ or even become an addiction? Some food/drinks we consume have chemicals in them that are addictive; In yoga asana practice we may get a high from the feel good chemicals that are released into our blood and so even something seen as ‘good’ can become addictive. We start to feel irritated if a certain time passes until we get out next fix, we hear our family say ‘ I think you should go to yoga/ for a run’ then we know our habit has become an addiction.
An addiction is an urge to fill a space that needs filling. This space may show up in different ways for us. True freedom is being able to give up something we are addicted to or a habit that is not serving us well.
Practice for today; Assess what habits you have in your life that you would like to change or a habit you would like to create. Focus on rewiring yourself by setting a goal and performing it consecutively for twenty days.