Fifth period health class on the first day of 7th grade had just started, and I had finally found Mr. Abalone’s room. As I strutted in about three minutes after the last bell, I heard my teacher state, “Humans are habitual creatures. Today, you came into the class and sat down in a seat of your choice. You sat there because you had a legitimate reason in your head to sit there.” He went on to list reasons, such as a friend of yours sitting in the same region of the room, a girl you have been eyeing for the past couple of weeks decided to sit there and you find it as a great chance to get to know her or maybe we just like sitting in the front, or the back, or close to one of the eye-catching posters on the wall. The point is, humans do not like to change daily routines, and once they get accustomed to something, it usually becomes very difficult to break the habit.
Now, after I heard Mr. A say that, I started noticing things that I personally did every single day that I didn’t even consider how or when I was doing it. Every time I came home from school, I would yell “I’m back!” and then go to my room and drop off my backpack. Immediately afterwards, I would go into the kitchen and have a snack before supper. Before lunch, I would get very hungry, but if I happened not to eat anything for that lunch period, my stomach would mysteriously stop growling for food. I would wake up in the morning, and go to the restroom for my first action of the new day. Immediately after, I’d go eat some breakfast. At night time, I would normally go to sleep at a specific time. If I stayed awake for but a few minutes past this habitual time, my drowsiness would leave me and I would feel wide awake. And these examples are only a small number of all the unconscious habits that I noticed myself used to.
My point with all of this is we may not always notice the things that we do on a regular basis. In the back of our heads somewhere, something leads us to do these, time and time again. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a habit is, “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.” Now, in the examples that I mentioned above, the habits that I revealed were no serious matter. The truth is, though, many people possess extremely dreadful habits that ruin families, hurt others and themselves, and even lead to violence. If you are one of those people, you have probably noticed in yourself that if somebody suggests a change in your behavior, you get very irritated or upset at them. Unfortunately, these habits may be extremely difficult to change. My point exactly…humans are habitual creatures.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.