Today’s Word of the Day prompt is HABIT, a word with a wide range of meanings.
My first thought was : maybe it would be good for my writing if I made it a habit to participate in Word of the Day? Sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about a certain word, but this one really inspires me.
My second flicker went to the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I see it’s been followed by The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. Have you read either of these books? Did you find them helpful? I recently bought the second e-book in the Small Changes for a Happy Life series: Self-Discipline to Change Your Life by Robert Hensley. I’ll see what this writer suggests for little things I can improve on.
More power to those folks who become Highly Effective People. I’ve past 65 already and abandoned that dream; at this point I’m content to snail along as an Ordinary Person. But one can still pick up a few useful habits.
However, habits take discipline. Do it every day for a month and it will become a habit, but drop it for two or three days and you’re back to square one. So a person has to choose habits they can live with and determine that, come family, friends, or writer’s block, I’m going to do this.
Some lifestyle coaches say that our best way to gain ground is not in huge drastic changes — yesterday’s Word of the Day — but in forming small progressive habits. Like taking a five-minute walk every morning — then expanding the time to ten minutes, and on to half an hour. Thus you work into something rather than thinking, “I’m going to walk half an hour every day,” and finding it too much, so giving up the plan after a few times. Buy a month’s membership at the pool or fitness club for starters, rather than paying for a year’s activity and giving up after a week.
Not long ago I read an article by one Highly Effective Person who says people should make a To-Do list every morning. Write it down. Even if we don’t get everything crossed off, a list helps us set priorities and focus on getting the most important things accomplished. I make lists when I’ve something special going on but have never developed the habit, woe is me. I know some highly effective women who do make daily lists and I have to admire how much they get done in an average week.
Different strokes for different folks?
Apparently the word HABIT entered English via Norman French back in the 1200s and has expanded into the various meanings we have today. S’habiller still carries the same meaning in French as it did in the 1300s: to dress oneself.
According to Merriam-Webster:
In its oldest sense, however, habit meant “clothing” and had nothing to do with the things a person does in a regular and repeated way. Today, this meaning is preserved only in phrases like “nun’s habit,” “monk’s habit,” and “riding habit” (clothes worn for horseback riding).
In English, habit progressed from meaning “clothing” to “clothing for a particular profession or purpose” to “bearing, conduct, behavior.”
The specific development of habit to refer to drug addiction began in the 19th century, with reference to opium.