Whose loss is it, anyway?

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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/includes/filter.handlers.inc on line 570.
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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/includes/plugins.inc on line 3673.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/node.views.inc on line 1112.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_content::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/cck/includes/content.views.inc on line 262.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_comment::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/comment.views.inc on line 480.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_username_comment::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/comment.views.inc on line 527.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_node_new_comments::pre_render() should be compatible with views_handler_field::pre_render($values) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/comment.views.inc on line 803.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_accesslog_path::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/statistics.views.inc on line 289.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_file::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/system.views.inc on line 225.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_term_node_tid::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/taxonomy.views.inc on line 933.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_upload_description::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/upload.views.inc on line 269.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/user.views.inc on line 414.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_user_name::value_submit() should be compatible with views_handler_filter_in_operator::value_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/user.views.inc on line 746.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_user_name::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/modules/user.views.inc on line 746.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/nikkie/white.miceplans.net/modules/views/views.module on line 716.

Humans are creatures of habit.

Over the few years that I've been on this planet earth, I've gained a few of them myself. I always buy the same brand of pen, and the same brand of pencil. I buy the same couple of notebooks every quarter, I walk the same path every morning, and I wear the same clips.

Some habits are perfectly normal, and good. They save us time and effort. I buy the same pen because I've bought most of them at one time or another, and decided I like one brand best. And I wear the same clips because I know how they work and how long it will be before my hair falls out. I walk the same path because it's the most efficient route to where I'm going.

Occasionally, though, we find that we have to break habits. For one reason or another, we decide that something is wrong with something we've done time and time again, whether consciously or not.

Breaking habits is interesting - sometimes it's easy, and sometimes, it's almost impossible. Breaking the habit of hitting the snooze button, for me, would be impossible. But what is it that makes breaking a habit so hard? And how can I break that impossible habit?

I think this is why people say that the elderly won't change their ways. Of course not! They spent a looong time honing those habits. They are entrenched, and happy with the way things are to them. Just like I've chosen my favorite pen.

I've thought about it a fair bit, and come up with some general precepts on habit breaking that seem to work for me. Now, I'm lucky. I don't seem to have a proclivity towards smoking, drinking, or anything like that. Nothing that would end me up in a "12 Step Program". But I've got some doozies, nonetheless. The more you do a habit, the harder it is to beat, of course. The more you like a habit, the harder it is to break. Physical habits can be hard, but thought habits are extremely difficult. Things like procrastination, moodiness, love. So you can try to break difficult habits by not doing them. But, honestly, that's the hard way.

The easier way to break a habit is to replace it. Obviously you want replace the "negative" or "unwanted" habit with something positive. But less obvious is what kind of habit will successfully replace the unwanted. I am convinced that a habit can only be beaten by one of equal or stronger power. So you can replace alcoholism with smoking, but not with gum chewing, for example.

That's all rather obvious, really. The problem is with the big things. The thought habits. What's a stronger habit than love? Love can beat any other habit: smoking, alcoholism, moodiness, procrastination, you name it. You do it more often, it makes you more happy (on average), and those effects stack non-linearly. So really. What has a chance against it?

Of course, it's never that simple. Life isn't merely a stream of habits. It's a stream of events. Things happen, time changes us. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that as time continues to ebb and flow, we consider our habits. Maybe next quarter I'll find a new brand of pen. Or a new OS. Or remember an old one. Who knows.

If I'm an amalgamation of my habits, I hope I can say when I look back that I chose the right ones.