We at TMS Hope Center believe that Practice makes Happiness. Everyday is an opportunity to practice or start healthy habits. The opposite is also true: everyday is an opportunity to practice or start unhealthy habits.

Why is it that we are often unaware we are practicing unhealthy habits? Why is it we often need a therapist to help us sort out healthy from unhealthy?

In general, we walk around pretty oblivious of why we do what we do. Why did we pick chocolate over vanilla? We do not realize that habits that were helpful in the past are obsolete now and have no purpose. How often do we explain our current habits by giving a history of having learned it in childhood? We do this as a way to justify having those habits now that we are adults but this does not make much sense. I often reply that bad habits from the past have served their purpose and may not be needed anymore. I joke and say that even though I may have eaten meatloaf every Sunday when I was a child does not mean that I should now continue to eat meatloaf as an adult. All of us have shed some of the habits of childhood but many of those transitions go unobserved. However, for some reason we may continue some dysfunctional habits and those are harder to say goodbye to as adults even though they distress us.

Sometimes we change because new information comes along. A silly example is that my mother used to buy margarine because she thought it was healthier than butter. Then she read somewhere that this was not the case and so she never bought margarine again. Scientific discoveries offer a great example of why we make certain changes in our lives.

What causes us to reexamine and eventually change our own habits, our attitudes, and our beliefs? What causes us not to change even when we know it is in our best interest to do so?

Starting new habits and shedding old habits takes practice. I invite you to set aside time every year to take a look at your habits and decide whether to keep them or not. Doing this would be a great birthday gift to yourself or a holiday gift for yourself. It would be a great thing for couples or families to do. You do not have to wait and figure out why you have certain habits before you start on the journey of changing those habits.

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