Hiking between high and low habits

Habits are a bit like places… or maybe we can also see them as trails? Notes on habits, recovery and paths

Understanding habits as places

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

What are habits and how can we understand them better? Sketching up landscapes of understanding, I’ve been wondering about habits for years.
Our habits are one of the factors that come to define us more and more as time pass. Some of our habits can help us, other habits we try to escape. Somehow habits seems both related to the psychological places we stop, high or low along the way – And also to the paths we follow

High habits

Some habits make us stronger and more capable. Take the habit of getting up early in the morning to read books to learn something, or the habit of meditating, of exercising, eating healthy food or leaving the phone when needing to be present with kids, loved ones or other things that is better done without distractions.

Maybe we can see these as high habits, because people tend to talk about them as something we need to construct a framework around to grow. Habits that needs a strong foundation, and takes time to build and can lift us up high – But also habits we can loose or fall from, like from a high place.

Low habits

At the other end of the scale are the habits that we fall into and often can’t get out of or escape. These are the habits that stops us from where we want to go. Habits that could be called low habits.

It is habits like any kind of addiction, but also things like procrastination, unhealthy eating and spending too much money, or too much time on social media.

Hiking between high and low habits

So I wondered if both high and low habits can be sketched up like buildings or places, each with their own defining characteristics, then maybe there could be sketched a middle path between them using a hiking metaphor.

A path between the extremes, that is not as much defined as a high or low place. But instead defined as a walk along a path in a certain direction, where the steps each and one of us take every day matters more than the position we hold at a certain time and day.

Sketch of the words HABIT created like a building, and a void, and with a path between them. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Hiking Landscapes of Understanding – Defining habits as high or low place, or as path

Keywords: philosophy, landscapes of Understanding, psychology, architecture, place-making, habits,recovery, addiction, moral, reality, strategy, mindsets, paths, planning, identity

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