One major insight gleaned and publicized in the past generation has been the observation that habit-forming reduces the effort and exhaustion of discipline. People who have formed a habit to act a certain way at a certain time every day or every week are free to exert their discipline in other areas. The struggle then turns into “How do I form a habit?” This is not an easy question to answer.
However, one answer, a two-part answer, is to leverage the power of “Others”. “Others” exist in two forms, individual and collective. Developing friendships with Others who already have certain habits, or who are also working on forming them, strengthens you and your habit-forming desires.
The other form is communal. The American sense of Individualism has created a false sense of self that pretends that the ideal and the reality is that good people are impervious to community pressure. There ain’t no such thing. People have their moments, sure; but nobody is impervious. When one is part of a community that does certain things, or refrains from certain things, at all times, it seeps into the individual’s soul. Those patterns are real, forever, even in the cells of those who rebel in later life.
How can you leverage the realities of friendship and community to make you a stronger person? Please understand that I am not saying, “Leverage your friendships.” That’s cold. Friends are people, not your lulav. Leverage your awareness of the power of friendships and community bonds to move your life in the right direction.
I have a good story to back this idea up, but I don’t want to embarrass someone who might be reading this.