"The timid child must cling closer to its mother, who represents safety, familiarity, and protection; the bolder child is freer to venture forth and can go farther from home base. The thinking process that parallels the timid clinging to the mother is the equally timid clinging to habit. The bold thinker—which is almost a redundancy, like saying a thinking thinker—must be able to break free of the past, of habit, expectation, learning, custom, and convention, and to be free of anxiety whenever venturing out of the safe and familiar harbor." ~Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality
It certainly takes a conscious effort to venture beyond the safe and familiar harbor called habit. This can be a difficult undertaking, much like attempting to awake oneself from a comfortable dream. But why would one want to end a comfortable dream? Because the dreamer is not you; the dream is not a creation of the mind, it is an unconscious creation of the brain; and the dream can just as easily turn into a nightmare because you may never discover your authentic self.
"Not choice, but habit rules the unreflecting herd." ~ William Wordsworth
And how does one go about awakening oneself from the dream, to regain the helm of one's own vessel? The short answer is awareness (becoming aware of mindless, drifting habit). Continue then by questioning how and when the habits were formed. What did I learn -- in school, from social conventions, from mass media -- that formed who I am today, what I do, and how I do it? Am I living to meet the expectations of others or of myself? Where did these expectations come from? Why won't I listen to the ideas of those with whom I disagree? How may I pleasantly surprise myself today?
In addition to the first two parts of the Paradox of Habit series, please review some of the other links to past posts that may help you break free of potentially harmful habit and to aid in discovering your authentic self: