“If you don’t want to be a hot-head, don’t feed your habit. Try as a first step to remain calm and count the days you haven’t been angry. I used to be angry every day, now every other day, then every third, fourth…if you make it as far as 30 days, thank God! For habit is first weakened and then obliterated. When you can say ‘I didn’t lose my temper today, or the next day, or for three or four months, but kept my cool under provocation’, then you will know you are in better health.” Epictetus, Discourses.
View your daily behaviour – both good as well as bad – as links in a chain. If you can break one of the links of the chain that binds you to unhelpful behaviour and unwanted emotions, then the chain is weakened. If you can forge one more link of good behaviour to the efforts you have achieved today, then you’re on your way to creating a new virtuous chain. As each act or behaviour is represented by one link, so the chain represents time: you cannot simply jump to one end or the other – that is, forwards to a certain future or backwards to redress the past. Be in the present and take each day as it comes, positive action by positive action. The chain will form itself.