Wednesday Word: Habits


A habit is defined by the dictionary as: an acquired behavior or pattern regularly followed; customary practice or use; a particular practice or custom.

We have all kinds of habits in our lives, some of which are unconsciously followed, some habitually followed, some which we work to follow. For instance, women with long hair habitually brush it back behind their ear. I habitually put on my left shoe before the right. Some of us work to cultivate habits of exercise or prayer. There are many other habits we could name.

Some habits are difficult to break. An alcoholic's habit of drinking, or a smoker's habit of smoking at a particular time in the day come to mind. Other habits are easily broken. Trying to cultivate a habit of healthy eating may disappear in seconds as you habitually open up the cookie jar when you pass by. Or that habit of exercising regularly may fall by the wayside during vacation or a business trip when your schedule is suddenly changed.

I find that some of my habits tend to be lost when my schedule changes. Three weeks ago the office was closed for Memorial Day. That meant that Tuesday was Monday, Wednesday was Tuesday, and the whole week was off. It also meant that I came within inches of walking out the door for lunch on Wednesday and forgetting that I had a mid-week Eucharist to celebrate. My habit was almost broken.

Last week I was at Virginia Theological Seminary for the first week of the preaching program. I brought some of my exercise equipment in the hopes that I would be able to maintain that habit. Thankfully, I was. But being gone that entire week meant that I had to reenter my regular schedule this week and reacquaint myself with some of my habits, and some of them were forgotten as I work to “get back in the swing of things.”

I have a habit of calling people on their birthdays if it falls when I'm in the office. I missed one or two of those, but called to offer a belated birthday wish.

I have a habit of writing the Wednesday Word on Tuesdays so that you can have it in your inbox on Wednesday morning. Oops. So here is my belated Wednesday Word; I hope you still find it valuable.

What habits do you have that might need to be broken? What habits would you like to work at so that they move from a customary practice to a regularly followed pattern?

The good thing about good habits is that, even if they are broken, you can always work to pick them back up again. May you find time in your life to reestablish those habits that make you better.



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