Animals may forget a trick if they don't practice it regularly. So, trainers have a set of review behaviors that they review with animals on a regularly.
Humans also forget behaviors which we do not practice on a regular basis. How many of us "used" to know how to do something?
I remember about ten years ago - before marriage, kids, big house, etc. - when I went to the gym on an almost daily basis. I took tons of step aerobics classes and loved the weight machines. I was pretty fit. Then, time passed and I got completely out of the habit. I gained a lot of weight.
Now I have lost weight and am trying to go back to the gym. A few days ago I took a step aerobics class. I was stunned at how hard it was for me to master the choreography - which I could have done so easily "way back when." It makes me so mad!! Why did I let myself get so out of the exercise habit? I know the only solution at this point is to force myself to get back in the habit, which includes struggling with re-developing those skills I once had.
I also once had the habit of consistent, dedicated quiet time. I read the Bible and journaled. God spoke to me so clearly during those times. Again, the busyness of life got me out of the habit. I know that I need to redevelop that habit, and then commit to never lose the habit again. Can I? Of course I can. Will I? I hope so.
Now when I have my quiet times, I struggle with my mind wandering to my To Do List. I find it so difficult to concentrate. I know that the ability to focus is a skill that must be learned and developed. It is a behavior which I fear I have lost through non-use. I need to re-learn that behavior to make my quiet time more productive. I cannot hear God speaking to me if my mind is wandering around on to a bunch of other topics.
This post was inspired by the book "What Shamu Taught me about Life, Love and Marriage" by Amy Sutherland.