Replacing an unhealthy obsession with a healthier one might be a step in the right direction, but many times, the problem is the obsession itself. Simply changing the object of the focus of habit doesn’t minimize the damage the obsessiveness can cause.
Drinking tea might be healthier than alcohol, eating at home might be wiser than eating out often, and an exercise routine might be healthier than a shopping habit. But when (1) something disproportionately resides in our thoughts, (2) we cannot allow ourselves a reasonable balance and allowance, or (3) we find increasing identity and irreplaceable solace in our habits despite friends’ warnings to the contrary, we need to pause.
It seems some people embrace moderation and face the truth of obsessing more easily than others. Addictive behaviors seem to be more slippery and consuming for some than others. And sometimes, we simply rationalize what we are doing, excusing it as “definitely not obsessive.”
Consider what consumes most of your routine, thoughts, and free time (outside work). Instead of listing all the “pros” to your choices, consider the following:
- How enduring is your commitment or perspective? Can you reflect on the past 10-30 years and identify different choices you were just as consumed with and committed to? Do you seem to make a habit of repeatedly being “all in” to something?
- How much do you share with others, and is it one of your top “go to” conversation topics? How well do you handle listening to someone else’s “go to” topic even if it is vastly different from yours and doesn’t interest you?
- How authentic are you about your priorities? How much is based in truth, and how much do you bend to fit your preference? Are you willing to change and grow?
Be honest about your obsessions. Healthier isn’t the same as healthy. Healthy is always infused with truth, and every one of us has room to grow in and toward truth.