Mareus News Blog

Small daily changes. Did you hear about the nun…

February 12th, 2014

Aristotles Ekker Rumour has it that around the time he was learning his eight times tables, (probably teatime on a Monday), Aristotle was heard to say “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”.  Followed by “8 times 1 is 8, 8 times 2 is 16, 8 times 3 is 24…”

So, is it true? Well…

Picture it. A grand soft day and you are walking through a field of long grass for the first time EVER!  First of all you prepare by wearing the right clothing. Deep breath. And you’re off!

You push the grass aside in the style of Indiana Jones searching for a Terri’s chocolate orange on Christmas morning. You beat a track for yourself. You might even get a bit sweaty. You reach the other side and look back at your accomplishment. What’s that? The grass has bounced back to its original position. Arrghhh!

Here’s the science(ish)…

The very first time we try to learn or do something new we battle through similar long, strong, and grassy fields in our brain. When we learn or do new things, we send electrical signals from brain cell to brain cell bridging the gaps in between  to create new “neural pathways”. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to bridge the gaps and create this first pathway. It’s the beginning of learning, a first step taken. But we can’t become complacent as the long grass is already fighting back. It has a grassy habit of growing!

But there’s good news…

The first time you walk through the field of new learning or new habits is the most difficult. If you stick with it, and make a habit out of doing this new thing, there’s a whole big world out there waiting to welcome the new you and your excellent habits!

So, back to our grassy field…

Picture it.  The following day, you go back, you walk through this grassy field again. You look back when you reach the far side, and the grass has yet again bounced back, but is definitely sagging a little. Result!

Now you repeat this daily walk for three weeks and you find there’s a nice walking track worn through the middle of that previously intimidating field.  You can run back and forth very quickly now with little or no resistance.

Through hard work and effort, you have become really good at this “grass path management”. Success!

What difference does this make to me?

An excellent question.

I think it comes down to choices.

We have choices.

There are habits that drive us forward and give us a true sense of fulfillment. There are habits that hold us back, and cause us to lose energy, and knock the spirit out of our lives.

If excellence is a habit, so is mediocrity. If stretching out at the gym is a habit, so too is stretching out your waistband while eating nachos and watching Fair City on a wet Wednesday evening.

We might be creatures of habit, but we also have the power to choose what habits get our attention, and where we devote our energies.   The paths we choose give us the lives we live.

Habit health stock take: When was the last time you checked your habits?

  • Is your comfort zone shrinking or expanding?
  • What habits or rituals are holding you back?
  • What habits or rituals push you towards new adventures and experiences?
  • What would you like your newest habit to be?
  • What will that give you? /What are your goals?

The super good news?

You don’t have to put that nice TV in the skip, throw out all the nachos, register in next week’s triathlon, declutter the house, give up smoking, and start your novel tomorrow.

Small daily changes in our habits can bring significant and amazing results in quite a short space of time. Pick one positive habit starting today and work on it daily for 21 days. Commit and persist in treading this new pathway and insist on seeing where it brings you.  Imagine what the field of grass would look like if you stopped at “Arrghhh!” That’s right, grassy and messy.

So what one small daily change will you make this week?

Oh, I almost forgot about the nun…

Did you hear about the nun who wiped her nose on her sleeve and refused to do laundry? She sure has some filthy habits. Ahem…

All the best from Park West,

Grace 😀



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