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There's a snippet of folk wisdom that says if you do a particular action (or ruminate on a particular idea or attitude) for three weeks, you have created a permanent habit.

A habit is something done regularly, as part of a routine, without deciding from scratch each time if it's a desirable action or thought--or not. It may have been a mindful choice at the initiation of the habit, but it morphs (like short term memory into long term memory) into a part of the identity that says, "This is what I do (or think or feel)."

It becomes who you are. As a man thinks (and acts), so is he. True for a woman, too.

In the last couple of days I've become aware that I have finally formed a couple of desirable habits, habitual actions for which I don't have to make repeated conscious decisions--I've made a long term decision.

One is eating to maintain my weight. It's easy now. I eat this, not that. I eat so much of something and then stop. I have a treat now and then (can anyone give up ice cream forever?). Maintaining my weight has suddenly become easy, nearly automatic.

I've finally broken the addiction to sugar, though I'll never fully trust myself when face-to-face with a carton of ice cream alone in a darkened kitchen.

The other habit is walking. I think, I hope, that it has finally become a habit, something I do just because that's what I do. Even when I wake up saying that I'm going to skip it for today, I find myself putting on my shoes, slipping my ID into my pocket, and heading out the door (still mumbling to myself about not doing it 'just this once').

I've changed my attitude towards habits. I used to think of them as a restriction, a rut. Now I think of them (the desirable ones) as reliable friends that will steer me away from Gluttony and Sloth.

Now, about Pride and Lust.... ;-)

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