Whether we realize it or not, habits and routines fill the better portion of our lives. Sometimes they are developed through instinctual repetition and impulse and other times, they are developed through a matter of conscious repetition and focus. We make choices from the moment we wake up until the moment we fall asleep. We choose who we spend time with, what we spend our time doing, what we do for fun, for work, etc. We choose how to deal with conflict, how to communicate, how to feel, and most importantly in my opinion; how to think. Eventually, when we are faced with the same choices frequently enough, we develop habits and routines. We choose to spend time with the same people, doing the same things, living the same life. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing, but life requires us to understand why we make the choices we make and to possess the ability to make changes if needed.
Some habits come easier than others and often times, the easiest habits in our lives are the ones which have been in our lives the longest. Why? Because the longer we repeat a habit, the harder it is to break and the harder a habit is to break, the more likely we are to instinctual repeat it. We subconsciously choose to embrace the same habits day after day because that requires less effort than creating new ones. We do what we did yesterday because it’s what we’ve grown accustomed to. We eat at the same times, we spend time with the same people, we drive the same routes to work, we spend the same amount of time at work or in front of the T.V., etc.
As chaotic and stressful as life gets, we cling to the simple nature of following the same path we’ve been on; blindly repeating what we already know to work. The habits that consume the majority of our time often become the ones that require less effort, but I challenge you to think differently. Making conscious choices to develop new habits and routines reminds us that we have control over how we live our lives. We don’t have to fall victim to the simplicity of instinctual repetition. We can make the choice to spend time with different people, doing different things, chasing different dreams, which requires conscious repetition; choosing the do the same thing over and over again until new habits are formed.
Eventually we must decide whether or not our current routine is maximizing our ability to achieve the goals and ambitions we’ve set or ourselves. We must recognize that the habits that fill our routines greatly impact our likelihood of success. Having a routine isn’t a bad thing if it’s filled with the right habits. We must have the ability to identify which parts of our routines are worth repeating, which may be harmful to our progress, and those that must change. We must recognize that conscious repetition can be a catalyst to personal growth if we are repeating the right things.
But life isn’t solely about grinding towards our goals every second of every day. We must have the ability to fill our routines with leisure and relaxation or we will burn ourselves out, but balance is key. Continuous personal growth requires hard work, consistent assessment, with strong time management skills balancing work and play. As humans we are creatures of habit, but we must recognize that we have control over what habits we are creatures of.
Accomplishing goals is hardly a one-stop-shop. It requires hard work and conscious repetition to eliminate the possibility of complacency. We must understand why our routines are filled with the habits that they and the ability to changes those routines when needed. The world is always changing which means successful habits and routines must be too. As we challenge ourselves to grow, our circumstances will change as well. Just because something worked yesterday doesn’t always mean it will work today.
Maximizing personal growth and development comes with consciously repeating the routines that often require us to fight back against our instincts. These habits require focus, conscious effort, dedication, and conscious repetition. Those routines help us stand out from our peers because they often require us to do the hard shit that nobody else wants to do like getting up early instead of sleep in, eating healthy instead of snacking on crap, turning off the TV to go study, and making the pursuit of our goals a priority.
Only you can decide what type of life you want to live but once you do, you must identify the habits and routines needed to get you there. Then engrave them into the roots of your day. Only after conscious repetition will those new habits replace the old.
In reflection, I challenge you to answer the questions listed below:
What is one of the goals you have set for yourself?
If you were to rate your confidence in your ability to accomplish this goal on a scale from 1-10, what would it be?
What are three habits (or parts of your daily routine) that are helping you achieve that goal?
What are three habits (our parts of your daily routine) that are negatively impacting your ability to accomplish that goal?
What are three things you could change about your daily routine, or new habits that you could create, that would positively contribute towards your progress of that goal?
Now, how would you rate your confidence in your ability to accomplish your goal on a scale from 1-10 if you successfully implement the changes you have identified?
By: Timothy A. Natale
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Secrets from Strangers shares 18 life changing “secrets” I learned for how to overcome obstacles, live a life of passion and purpose and to find more happiness in the way you live!