Our habitats are shared with others but our habits are uniquely a manifestation of our past habitats. The habits you have today are simply a reflection of the choices you made in your past habitats. Your habitats may change over time which can alter or impact your daily habits. There is a direct link between your habitat and your habits. An external force presses on you every day, your habitat. It molds you into the person you are today. A boulder in a mountain river is fixed. The force of the water that has already passed over it has shaped it into the boulder it is today. A boulder’s character is revealed because of its environment. Your character is revealed by your environment. Your habitat is not permanently stuck in a river. A boulder is fixed in a river unless a mighty force removes it from that environment. Today your habitat is a mighty force that shapes your current habits. Change your habitat change your habits.
What is a habitat?
Habitat is defined as, a place that is natural for the life and growth of an organism. (1)
This definition has two key elements that you should reflect on, life and growth. Both of these elements are intertwined but should be looked at independently.
Life is more than just work, sleep, and nutrients. Your life comes from the natural environment around you. A contrasting view of habitats would be the difference between an inner city kindergarten student and a kindergarten student living in a rural farm town. The natural life for these two kindergarten students is vastly different. Both students have a single parent home where mom works hard to support the family. Both single moms work in a business office and both earn $45,000 a year. The natural life for each of these kindergarten students is vastly different.
The inner city family has a life near poverty due to high rent and the high cost of fresh healthy foods. The mother strives to provide a stable home where education goes beyond school hours and extra curricular learning is strictly enforced. A home where respect for elders and the community is demanded so that the child has a better life. We have heard parents state that they want a better life for their children. Many parents desire a better life for their children where education and good habits lead to success. This mother is creating a habitat where good habits can form which lead to success.
The rural family has an average life. The family has lower rent and there is plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The local school provides the education and the mom feels that her kids are getting a good education. This mom relies on the school life to educate, train, and give direction to her child. At home, there are video games, endless TV, and plenty of junk food. The life of this home focuses on external forces to drive education and learning. While habits of TV and junk food are made at home. The life for this rural family is fine for this mom. This life appears to be “ok”. Yet habits are being formed because the parent allows the child to watch endless TV and video games. The parent believes their child will be “ok”. They will get the same education the parent got at the local school. The parent is fine allowing their child to watch TV, eat rubbish, and play tons of video games because that is what kids do. Your life is what you create based on your past habitats.
Growth comes from life and is physical, mental, and spiritual. A flower will die if the basic elements of life are removed. A flower will grow when given the elements of life such as the sun, water, and proper nutrients. Your habitat may support the basic elements of life such as a job, food, clothing, shelter, and education. However, does your habitat encourage growth? Growth goes beyond the basics of life. Most children in America have the basics of life. They have food, clothing, shelter, and education. The environment in which those basic elements of life are given will determine if the child will grow beyond their habitat. When a flower grows it stretches and strains as it naturally grows. Growth beyond the basics of life requires a habitat that instills habits that will propel a child into adulthood with the tools necessary to live better lives.
What are habits?
Your first thought may be directed towards bad habits.
A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. (2)
Your habits have three key pieces that will be explored in-depth. Habits are acquired. Habits have regular patterns. Habits are involuntary.
Your habits have been acquired. You have downloaded your habits through your habitat. Yes, your environment influences the habits you have today. A past habitat leads to today’s habits. We will dive into how changing your habitat will change your habits. Our environment at home, school, work, city, state, and country drives our habits. Starbucks has become a habit for millions of Americans. A daily latte sipped in the Starbucks habitat lounge of caffeinated bliss is an acquired habitat. Children are not programmed to love a soy skinny vanilla latte. Believe me, soy and skinny is not natural. It takes a habit to love that mandatory five dollar specialized coffee drink every morning. Our habits are acquired by our habitats.
Your habits are regular patterns. As I just described, in order to acquire the habit. Your habitat must allow you to form a regular pattern. Starbucks knows that they must become part of your daily pattern. That is why they place a Starbucks on both sides of the interstate exit. So, if you get off eastbound or westbound your regular pattern will be established and you will buy that habitual Starbucks drink. Our habitats are designed. We allow and accept our habitats to be designed in a way that supports our habits. Our habits become regular patterns which lead to our habits becoming involuntary.
Your habits have become involuntary. That morning commute is involuntary. You drive in an involuntary manner by choosing the far right lane, the middle lane, or the far left lane. Think about it, you do not think about your morning commute. You are ordering that soy skinny vanilla latte without thinking. Our habitats are strategically developed in order to make our habits involuntary. When things become involuntary what happens? For some, our worlds become chaos! That is why you hate Monday mornings. You’ve spent two days in a completely different habitat. Monday starts by you getting back into a new habitat that drives the habit of driving to work, stopping at Starbucks, and then going to work. By Tuesday your habitat is set for the next four days and the habits become involuntary.
Your habitats produce your habits. Our habits are acquired from our environment. Those strategically placed influences within your habitat are placed there so you form a habit. Your habitat influences you into a regular pattern. Patterns are repeated until they become involuntary decisions. We get to the point that our habitats become so normal because the repetition of our habits has become involuntary.
Think about your habitats and the habits that you have formed. You need to break down the habitats that are supporting those self-destroying habits. Your habits are completely different than your wife, husband, sibling, co-workers, and neighbors. You may all live in similar habitats. But your habitat is slightly different than every person you know. Every person in this world lives in their own habitat. All of our habitats overlap but each of our habitats produces within us habits that are good and bad. Control your habitat control your habits.
(1) “habitat”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Aug. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/habitat>.
(2) “habit”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 25 Aug. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/habit>.