Over breakfast on Sunday morning, I told my wife “I love you”, to which she asked “Why?” And I responded, “This is one of the good habits I started practicing fifty-three years ago”. We all develop habits during our lives. Some of them are good, others could be improved. As I mentioned before, I am currently working on one of my next books, “Retirement Solutions for Smart People. 5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Golden Age.” In the book, I connect retirement with the habit of being retired. And as with any other habits, it takes time to develop. When I started my MBA studies at Golden State University many years ago, the Dean recommended a book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz written in 1960 titled, “Psycho-Cybernetics”. In this book, Dr. Maltz wrote that after receiving a nose job, for example, it would take the patients about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. He also noticed that it took him 21 days to form a new habit. However, when Philippa Lolly from London’s University College conducted a study about habits, her team concluded that it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form new habits. Ben Franklin lists 13 Virtues in his autobiography. Among them are — Silence, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity and Justice. He spent a whole year focusing on each of them.
Instead of calling habits good and bad, I divided them into beneficial and less beneficial. For example, drinking water is a more beneficial habit than drinking Coca-Cola or any other sugary drinks.
A habit could be divided into healthful or not healthful. One of my not healthful habits was reading the newspaper while eating breakfast. Then I read the book “Mindfulness on the Go” written by Jan Chozen Bays. In the chapter titled “When Eating, Just Eat”, she offers an exercise.
“This week, when you are eating or drinking, don’t do anything else. Sit down and take the time to enjoy what you are taking in.”
As a result, I see what I put into my mouth and the food tastes better. Another example of a healthful habit for me has been walking with Max three times a day. You do not need a dog to walk, but having one helps.
There are other categories of habits, but I would like to return to one, which I started my story with – the good habit of being in love. Being in love can be taken by granted; sometimes we forget that like any other habits, it requires practice, practice and practice. Unless of course you are a dog. For Max, love is a way of being and he expresses it all the time.
P.S. We humans often share our love with our domestic animals. During our trip to Israel, I was amazed by the number of cats we encountered on the streets, especially in Tel Aviv. These four images are just some of them. However, you do not have to travel far away to meet animal lovers. Just buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” at Amazon.com or Encounterspublishing.com.
Enjoy and Share.