“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”
— Warren Buffett
In life, we are constantly bombarded with decisions we have to make. If we took the time to thoroughly analyze all of the pros and cons of each decision, we would be paralyzed by the sheer volume of analysis required. Luckily, as humans, we have the ability to make snap judgments about the importance of decisions, allowing us to focus our thoughts and energy on those that are most important. For the rest, we rely on our instincts and intuition, honed over years of experience, to guide us, subconsciously, through the litany of tasks and choices we simply don’t have the time to consider in detail.
These subconscious decisions are our habits. Habits are very necessary—they allow us to effectively navigate a complex world by simplifying our daily mental to-do list. They are also—it turns out—very difficult to change. The following three concepts will help you understand why: inertia, ‘path dependence,’ and ‘mindless choosing.’ For now, however, just think about the following question:
Have you ever gotten in the car, started driving, and then minutes later realized you were driving yourself to the wrong place? (the place you drive to most often)
Don’t underestimate the power of habits. Sometimes your habits are not serving your best interest and need to be changed. They absolutely can be changed. But this process takes thought, energy, and planning. If you are serious about changing a habit, the following explains how you can go about doing it. Read more