Let's take a few minutes to think about the small habits we have. We probably have quite a few of them, things that we do unconsciously every day. In fact, you could say that people's personalities are just a collection of small, unconscious habits.
I have a habit of using lip balmat every available opportunity. I do have dry lips, but there's a stick of lip balm in every corner of my house and I'll often find myself with a stick in my hand, applying the lip balm unconsciously. Sometimes I think it's more than just a habit and I'm just obsessive. Or maybe the makers put something addictive in their lip balm formula (or maybe not). Whatever the reason, I can't stop using lip balm.
Another bad habit of mine, which I can't get rid of, is bad posture when I read. When I read I have to bring my face very close to the book and my grandmother always used to worry that I would end up a blind hunchback. My brother also has bad posture when he reads, and my grandmother used to worry about him, too. "Better posture is the first step toward better health," she used to say, "You can digest your food better that way." "We're not in a terakoya," we would tell her. In fact, when my brother went to the States, the last thing she said to him as he went through the airport departure gate was: "Watch out for your posture!" But despite her efforts, we both still have bad posture. Old habits die hard.
Worse than lip balm, worse than my bad posture is my pessimistic streak. I tend to think the worst in any situation, and I find it an endless battle to keep this habit under control. It's even more difficult because it is subconscious and therefore hard to pin down. It isn't as though I think, "Let's interpret this in the worst possible way." I just end up thinking that way without being aware of it.
But I think we can draw some hope from this proverb, because if bad habits die hard, then so do good habits. Once you get yourself a set of good habits, then they'll stay with you for the rest of your life. And as for bad habits, it may be hard to change them, but it isn't impossible. If we recognize our bad habits and try as much as we can to keep them in check, then we have a chance, even if it's only a slim one, to change.
Q1 Kana says habits are like people's:
A2) Subconscious desires
A3) Addictive diseases
正解： A1) Personalities
Q2 kana suggests that one way of getting rid of old habits would be:
A1) To know your bad habits and try to do the opposite.
A2) To know your bad habits and try to control them.
A3) To know your good habits and try to make more of them.
正解： A2) To know your bad habits and try to control them.