Looking at habits in the rear view mirror

I used to have a serious Diet Coke habit. I drank untold gallons of the stuff, at all times of the day and night. Add a wedge of lime, and I would follow you anywhere.

Breaking the diet soda habit wasn’t easy, but after being away from it for a few years, I find that the desire is gone. Completely. The last time I tried diet cola, just out of curiosity, it didn’t taste like anything a human should be drinking.  I got a mental image of a discerning robot sipping the cola and commenting, “A complex blend of polysyllabic chemicals, with lingering notes of liquid asphalt and cancer…”  Yeah, no thanks.

Habits are powerful forces, and it sometimes it might seem that you’ll never be free of one habit or another.  But when you substitute a replacement routine and stick with it, new neural pathways form and strengthen. Most of the time the new routine becomes stronger than the old one, but sometimes you’ll reach a point where the old habit holds no appeal whatsoever. I can definitely see the risk of falling off the wagon when it comes to pizza or homemade scones, but this particular temptation is gone.

Chances are you have a “Diet Coke” habit of your own, something that was once a problem but that’s now in your rear view mirror. Take a moment to look back, enjoy the view, and remind yourself that if you’ve stopped one bad habit, you can do it it again.