“Every single feeling, no matter how small it is and even if it is forgotten immediately by the conscious mind, always leaves some sort of impression on the memory.”

– Accounting of the Soul, M. M. Levin (1749–1826)

Habits start off as simple acts, but what turns these simple repetitive actions into such a formidable emotional and subconscious force?

In Accounting of the Soul, M. M. Levin (1749–1826) describes the process of habit formation: “Every single feeling, no matter how small it is and even if it is forgotten immediately by the conscious mind, always leaves some sort of impression on the memory. If you then experience this feeling a second time, it combines with the original impression, thereby strengthening itself. Every time this feeling is experienced again, all the accumulated traces of the previous impressions combine with it.”

Now it is clear how the power of habit strengthens even the weakest feelings and how it creates learned desires that intensify over time. Eventually, even the most insignificant string of experiences can accumulate to become strong enough to overwhelm even a major motivation.

This is the power of habit! In other words, an “outer action” may be exactly the same every time you repeat it, but the “psychological impressions” of every minor experience, feeling, and image associated with that act, connect with its previous psychological impressions. The impressions or traces left on your subconscious mind accumulate to form a formidable force.

When you understand this mechanism, every experience, feeling, and image takes on a new meaning. In fact, this inner process affects every aspect of your personality and behavior. This is why it is so hard to change old habits and how the only way to change the tide is to create new habits, allowing the subconscious mind to accumulate new impressions until they overwhelm previous impressions. As you make changes to your life, respect the mind and be patient with yourself as the subconscious mind does its magic without you even noticing it consciously.

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