Such is the nature of habits.
We form habits through repetitive behavior. Often our habits attach themselves to our lives much like a ganglion cyst. Changing a habit requires behavior modification for many, concerted effort and cognizance of the habit for others.
In The Power of Habit; Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Charles Duhigg explains that habits embody processes:
First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
Blogging challenges such as the A to Z challenge and The Slice of Life Story Challenge, which I participated in during March, state their purpose as forming a daily writing habit in participants. However, breaking an old habit--the not writing habit, if you will--takes longer than a month. Psychologists typically posit that it takes at least six weeks to replace an old habit with a new one.
Six weeks sounds like a short time, but in the world of habit formation, six weeks can feel like six months, one reason why few keep New Year resolutions.
We see habits in all cultural and social structures and
Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize--they are so strong, in fact, they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.
The poet Howard Nemerov describes the habits of an ordinary man as well as the cost of those habits in a poem.
Life Cycle of Common Man by Howard Nemerov