From the professor’s desk:
Most of us want to develop better habits. Perhaps you want to pay better attention to your calendar, or to pay your bills on a schedule, or to floss every day. Maybe you’d like to call a loved one more frequently. I’d certainly like to improve my housekeeping habits (I confess I’m a bit messy).
Habits develop through time and repetition, yet often, we make a vow to “do better,” and never take action beyond that. If repeated action is the key, then we need to identify an action, and do it regularly – just like brushing our teeth. Most of us would never say “I’ll brush my teeth next month, or whenever I get around to it, or whenever I feel inspired to do it.” We also know better than to say “I brushed my teeth today, so I won’t have to do it again tomorrow.”
Is there something you do so regularly that you don’t even think about it? For example, do you ever leave the house, get halfway to work, and then wonder if you locked the door? You probably DID lock it, but you were on “autopilot” and didn’t give it much thought. That’s what habits can do for us – help us to do the right thing as a matter of course.
Life habits are one thing – but can we develop THOUGHT habits? Yes, we can, through the same process: deliberate, repeated action. We can treat others with dignity, act inclusively, and interrupt stereotypes by remembering to do these things every day, every time – especially when it’s hard. Especially when we’re tired or frustrated.
Let’s work at being better citizens of the world, and living positively in community with those around us, by developing habits of the mind and heart.