"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~~Aristotle

I've seen this quote in the stairwell at school every day for months now. I really like it. What do you think?

Habits. We all have them. I use the word habit often (i.e. "Eating Nutella has become my favorite habit." Or, "You have a habit of interrupting me." Or, "Picking your nose is a bad habit."), but like many words used in our language, it's a word that has several meanings, and who knows if I'm actually using it correctly?! Lately, I've wanted to understand the words that I'm using more deeply. I'm learning to truly respect the complexity of the English language.

Enter in the handy, dandy dictionary. (Side note...I used to despise using the dictionary as an adolescent...I really just wanted someone to tell me what the word meant instead of taking my own sweet, precious time looking it up...hah! Lazy much?!)

Habit (noun)~

1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.

2. customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
It's confession time...the following is a list of, in no particular order, my habits...those "customary practice[s]" or "behavior pattern[s] [that are] regularly followed."

  • I never noticed my cruise control habit, or even considered it a habit, until the other day. I (apparently) don't use it like regular people (you know...on long stretches of highway), but instead, use it it everywhere. Really. I get going down a street, reach the desired speed, and "click." Cruise controlling has commenced. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it. Weird.
  • I habitually check my eye makeup. I don't know why, other than the fact that I like my eyes, I spent a lot of money on my vision, and I think they are my nicest feature. Upon editing this post, I realized that I check my teeth for very similar reasons. Well, that, and I HATE when food gets stuck in them. It brings me back to braces, middle school days, and oreos...*shudders*
  • Every two weeks, on my trip to the grocery store, I gas up my car. Every two weeks. The same store. No other store. It's in my comfort zone, it's familiar, and it's quick/easy since I'm already there getting groceries. I freak out if that location has to be changed for some random reason (say I was gone most of the day on my "normal" grocery day and, therefore, had to go the next day to a totally different location)...just ask the boyfriend...it wasn't pretty...
  • I have curly hair, but I very much love my Chi iron. I believe it's one of the greatest, THE GREATEST, inventions man has ever made. I'm serious. Anyway, I have a system of when my hair is curly and when it's straight, and this makes my life ever so much easier. So, Sunday through Wednesday, my hair is straight, and Thursday through Saturday, my hair is curly. Most of my friends know the system. It's pretty set, but, unlike when I gas up my car, I don't normally lose it if my hair has to be curly an extra day. I'm not that crazy...
  • I eat basically the same things every day. For years, I literally drank the same smoothie nearly every day for breakfast (until my Magic Bullet Blender bit the dust *sigh*). I don't think that that's a terrible thing. It's merely a habit. Some may complain that the lack of variation in my diet is not normal, but I don't analyze the items others choose to eat. Plus I ♥ dairy. Enough said :).
  • I read. Daily. Blogs, novels, emails, facebook posts, children's books, articles, anything written. I look forward to new novels, especially in the summer when I have more free time. And, my favorite subjects to teach are phonics and reading. Ahhh, language.
  • I'm not even going to discuss my "customary practice" of using italics to emphasize a point.
I'm sure there are many, many more that I don't even realize I do each day, but those are the ones I'm most aware of (or that I've been made aware of by those kind, caring people in my life haha!).
After analyzing some of my habits, I thought I'd see what the Word had to say about habits in general.
Many of the verses I found use the word in a negative light. Such as
"I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you've picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one..." Hebrews 5:11
"Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way." 1 Peter 4:1
and even
"All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you." 1 Corinthians 7:23
But there were several more that use it as a means of growing closer to God like:
"There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer." Acts 10:1
or this
"And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, "Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that." James 4:13
or that
"Everyone sees it. God's work is the talk of the town. Be glad, good people! Fly to God! Good-hearted people, make praise your habit." Psalm 64:9
or even
"If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance? As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that's why you're worshiped." Psalm 130:3
What I took from His Word, is that we should be a people that make a habit of praying, of seeking God's will (and not our own), of praising and worshiping Him (loved that phrase "Fly to God!"), and of realizing that God's habit is one of forgiveness. I'm so glad that God makes it a habit to forgive us! I think that one should be one we make a habit of as well. Forgiving. Even when the other person doesn't deserve it. Especially then. Because, then, we are one step closer to being more like Christ. That's my kind of habit.


  1. My preferred "habit" is loving you. You rock (and so does your blog).!!!

  2. Thank you, Momma! Love you bunches!

  3. James said--
    Joy, every morning I put my clothes on the same way out of habit and necessity. I think that this is the way my walk with God is-out of habit and necessity. I love you & think & pray for you often!

  4. Uncle James,
    I, too, put on my clothes out of habit and necessity :). I love you, too!


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