Forming New Habits

Have you heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit? I heard that theory many years ago, and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s true. I question the science behind that statement because I have trouble telling time. What? This guy doesn’t know how to tell time? Something we all learned to do in Kindergarten? I want to be clear. I know how to tell time, it’s just that I’m constantly wondering what time it is these days. Even if I’m wearing a watch. I can hear you thinking, “Say what?”

Let me explain. I’ve always enjoyed wearing a watch. I remember as a kid, I felt I would be a grown-up when I wore a watch every day. And that’s just what I did for many years. However, during my last IT job, I was required to swap out tape magazines on each shift. One evening, I scratched the face of my favorite watch during this process. So, I decided to stop wearing a watch there and then. Besides, by that point I had my cell phone in my pocket all the time anyway. So who needed a watch?

I didn’t wear one again for many years. Even after leaving that job, my wrist was still bare. However, In my most recent job in sales, I got back in the habit of wearing a watch. By then, I had built up a nice collection. But here’s the thing, I never look at my watch to tell the time! The habit of checking my phone, wall clock, or computer had been burned in. My watches have become jewelry, instead of time machines.

The other day, the battery on our wall clock died and the hands are stuck at 9:45. I know, it’s right twice a day (hardy-har-har!). Here’s the thing. Even though I have a watch on my wrist, I keep checking that damn clock at least a dozen times a day. Arghh! 

About a year ago, I dug out an old cuckoo clock my Dad had given us. Because I loop the chains, it only runs about 12 hours before it needs winding. In an effort to break my wall clock addiction, I try to keep it wound up. Every time that little cuckoo bird starts chirping, I look at my wrist. It’s a form of replacement therapy. I suppose I could leave the battery out of the wall clock forever, but that might make me a little cuckoo, too.

So what’s your bad habit? How are you going to kick it? You may want to try a replacement action instead. It has been shown to be more effective, and have longer-lasting results. I’ll let you know how it works for me!

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How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One


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