It can be really hard to break bad habits, especially if they have positive rewards. But there are other habits that are very desirable. Automatically being able to talk, walk, and ride a bicycle, for example.
We may not remember, but it took a lot of practice to develop those skills. Now they just run as programs.
The interesting angle here is the value of routine. If we don’t have good daily habits, we leave our conscious mind in full control of our day-to-day needs. We have to decide to brush our teeth and make breakfast rather than just doing them automatically.
A good daily routine of hygiene, meditation, proper food, and exercise is composed of several subroutines. If these are not established, we have to apply discipline constantly. It often becomes too many choices, so the mind doesn’t bother. It takes the easy way out.
Microwave popcorn in front of the boob tube is a simpler choice than working out a meal plan. But simpler still is an established meal routine.
Of course, a little flexibility is fine. Variety is healthy. But our ongoing routines can make a big difference in our health long term.
The mind may assert it has free will yet it will often make choices based on perceptions of lack, insufficiency, unresolved emotions, unmet needs, and a cornucopia of unconscious drivers. Why else would fast-food places be so popular? Informed choice?? More likely an impulsive response in the moment. And then bad decisions become bad habits.
This is the value of establishing good routines. Then we’re making informed choices to engage in a lifestyle that supports our health and well-being. As we establish those routines, those programs run automatically.
Then we’re not living out our junk and the mind is freed to make choices that matter.
A similar requirement can happen post-awakening as we lose the old fetters that constricted our behaviour. When old shoulds and musts fall away, the habits that rode on them will too. This may include lifestyle habits. Some awake people I know have developed curious routines as they’ve adapted to what arose. It made little sense to assert a sense of person.
Yet even here, we need structure to support our health. Good routines without force remain advisable. Turns out both the deepest and the most surface take the longest to perfect. 🙂
PS – routine isn’t something you force or you get into mind battles. Incremental change is easier.