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Are You a Clump of Unproductive Habits?

By the time you are age 50 you have some useless habits - can you just throw them away?

Three Steps to Attack What Doesn't Work

Step One: Be Aware of Your Habits

Awareness is a simple and powerful way to begin. It is important only to begin. The subject is a big one, and, while you may not think it is very important, you are 40--50% run by habits, maybe much more depending on the moment. Breathing is a beneficial habit, for example (don't try to break it). There are so many that you have that are helpful and you and make life wonderful. Some don't, and you just tolerate them.

You can include addictions as habits. They operate without thought. Some are good and some aren't. Too much coffee comes to mind. But any of our regulatory systems benefit from not thinking about it. Who wants to think about how to digest a sandwich?

The prefrontal cortex of our brains is not where these automatic systems live and the PFC thrives on awareness/attention. To be able to gain even a minimum of control requires an awareness of what you want to control AND the emotions that surround it. First step then is to keep track of what habits you can experience and feel something about during the day.

Step Two: Review; Reflect on What You Wrote Down

That's a habit requirement in and of itself. It's easy to say you will do it, and hard to follow through with it regularly. If you are going to begin it yourself set up some system of reward that associates with the habit. You can work on this with alone or with someone else. It's always easier to have a buddy system working to support you and both of you can experiment with the reward incentives. It should have a certain time of day when you begin and stop efforts with the incentive. it helps if you can begin to classify the observations into your life priorities by emotions first - what is really resonating with you?

Think about something in life that was a triggering event. By that I mean something that evoked such powerful emotions that you took a new path. Many habits changed as a result.

This may have been an external event. Here however we are looking for internal events where the emotions aren't as readily evident. Nonetheless, emotions are keys to habits.

Step Three: Decide to Do Something About Your Observations in Step Two

Doing is learning. What you decide to DO should be small and within your current capabilities. It really should not be a goal at this point. After a month or so you can decide to set some goals around what you have learned. You and your buddy (or maybe a group) can begin to form learning habits that support some of the doing.

Comparing what you did that worked and what didn't is what occurs in every science lab. As you compile the data the process itself will begin to suggest ways to get better in awareness, recording and doing. You really can't help forming some habits around that and those habits will support others. There will be a habit of positive emotions, fur sure.


Life over age 50 can be thought of as throwing away obsolete things and thoughts and and acquiring new ones, including habits. Laziness can be thought of as not doing that. When you get lazy, life isn't quite as good as life can be.

Quote: Laziness grows on people; it begins in cobwebs and ends in iron chains. The more one has to do the more one is able to accomplish. Sir Thomas Buxton

Happy Days Ahead

Joe Grant, MBA

Certified Retirement Coach

Contact me for a Free 45 minute Consultation at

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