New habits can feel like a real struggle to stay on top of. Exercise, eating right, waking up early, mastering a new skill, teaching your kids something new or mine – writing consistently, I can relate to the battle. It stings when you let yourself down and the compound interest of doubt accrued over time is enough to weigh a man down into inaction. I consider healthy habit making to be similar to the process of growing a rose bush. The rose bush iconically are featured with thorned stems. The rose flower as beautiful and as timeless as they are a garden feature or gift, yet it bestows such potential for injury with it’s sharpness. Growing roses opposed to other flower types begins primarily with cold treatment (Stratification) whereas others require warm treatment or a mixture of both for it’s seeds to burst into life. The process mimics the correct environment ques that best address the needs of the seed type to sprout, bud, flower and thrive. The rose flower cannot however appear on it’s own without the long process of growth and sharing it’s sunlight with the thorns that adorn it’s body.
So to is it true, that desirable habits we pine to master often come with it’s share of puzzling quirks, like the thorns necked on the stem. The many environments we are placed in such as schools, the workplace, the churches we attend, the club sport and the people we mix in with, forms the warm or cold stratification ques to which will determine the success of lack thereof, of good habit forming and accepting some bad ones too. Maybe it’s time to keep the proverbial scissors close by. Ready to dull the sharpness of the bad habits we sometimes inherit because of wherever we were, or whoever we are close to that inevitably have impact in this fashion.
There is the theory of the 21/90 rule. Intentional goal setting while under careful directive for 21 days straight will create a habit groove. After proving consistent enough, the brain patterns and muscle memory of whatever the goal might be, becomes more automatic and efficient. Continuing for a further (consistent) 90 days solidifies the neural pathways and by then is etched into our typical behavior of doing without thinking. What used to be a new skill is now old hand, what used to be heavy is now light, what used to send us into a loop can now be worked through with no second thought. It is of my belief and experience the best versions of ourselves while on the topic of habits at least, are in battle with the worst of ourselves. The old man wants to remain stuck in his old ways. The good man is contending with the evil selfish man inside. The diligent man fights off the sloth upon his back that creeps and climbs on top of him each day. The self controlled man will entertain his gluttonous guest (himself) unless he can apply strength of mind to show him the door.
Letting emotions dictate actions will spell disaster. You must first let logic and discipline lead the way so then the proper emotions, not unchecked emotions, can come through and soften the hard edges off the process into a sustainability mindset.
Thorns in our life will appear. They are apart of the process and picture while we grow in life. However even when you are stung, hurt and tired of what they represent, remember that the rose is admired not for it’s sharpness but for it’s beauty.
You are the rose.