- Thoughts for inspired living

January 9, 2019

The Purpose of Habits

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:42 pm

SmokerThe Grasshopper, as is his habit, opined out of the blue, “Habits have no agenda.”

Even if you’re a habitual liar, your habit of lying itself isn’t necessarily doing so to support your current agenda. It’s just a purposeful behavior that you’ve learned but haven’t outgrown.

All habits are purposeful. We learned them for a purpose – to get us over a hump so to speak. Perhaps lying kept you from being punished. It served a purpose. You may have outgrown the fear of being punished for your actions, but that doesn’t keep you from continuing to lie. Lying is now a habit. Perhaps now you have a finer appreciation for the phrase “habitual liar.”

That’s how habits are formed: for a purpose.

Take smoking as an example. What was the purpose for starting to smoke? It certainly wasn’t because they tasted good. Remember choking on your first inhale?

Perhaps you wanted to be older, more sophisticated, like your older brother or sister, tougher, cooler – pick a purpose. That’s why you started. Now you’re older and wiser and know that smoking is nasty and harmful but you continue to smoke. That habit was formed for a purpose and purposes are powerful – powerful enough to keep you acting against your best interests.

Patterns in your mind are frozen in time. They are only as old as when you first learned them. That means when you smoke a cigarette 30 years later, the purposeful part of you continues to communicate that you’re still “cool.”

So how do you outgrow a habit? Notice that you have one is first and foremost. Second, recognize that the initial purpose for learning the pattern is long gone. And finally, interrupt the pattern every time you notice it running.

Each interruption creates a space in your thinking – a space for something new to come through – a new habit. it’s not an overnight fix but it does work, over time, when consistently applied.

Interrupting a habit gets the habit off track. Consistent application will derail it for good. Once you outgrow a habit, it will never fit again.

Make outgrowing unwanted habits your new purpose.

All the best,


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