Habits, routines and ruts

I am a creature of habit and routine. I freely admit this. My day to day life – particularly, of course, during the week – is a series of highly repetitive events, even meals. This works for me. At least, I think it does.

One of my major challenges in life is identifying when a habit or routine that I love is no longer helping me.

And yet again, Fia Skye of flyingedna.com spoke to me with her writing this week, on the Habit of Habits (https://flyingedna.com/blogs/news/the-habit-of-habits):

“Here’s the thing about habits. We make a particular choice to do something because in the moment, it seems like a solution to a perceived problem. As humans, we are constantly problem-solving. We make a choice because, given the way we’ve arranged the information we have, it’s the perfect thing to do. And if that choice works, we make that same choice in a similar situation again (and again… and again…)”

and later in her post, “So habits, perpetual choices, intentional practices, solutions we choose to address problems we perceive… are mutable, in flux, able to shift according to my desires and the vows I adhere to.”

Here’s the funny thing – I make BIG changes relatively easily. Buying a house, which apartment to rent, changing jobs (no, seriously, I’ve changed jobs and moved so frequently that my background checks are just laughable. I finally created a document that lists my known addresses for my adult life, because I’ve been asked for them so often and I was tired of using Google Maps to figure out the address of that apartment I lived in for a year back in 2001…). 
But changing the small habits? the day to day routines? I stink at that. I really really stink. 
Take, for example, my food. Once I find something I like, and that works for me, I tend to stick with it. I like to think I came by this naturally – my father ate the same thing for lunch for my entire childhood. My mother has done the same. My father DID change things up, but when he retired, and could take more time to think about what he actually wanted to have for lunch or breakfast, vs. just eating and getting out the door. 
But I digress. Yesterday, my big step was…(you’re going to laugh)… switching out part of the oats in my granola recipe for Grape Nuts. I know, crazy. And it’s sooo good. Makes it a little crunchier and … sorry, I just love granola. 
Other changes, though, I ponder and ponder and ponder forever – mostly for these smaller, daily habits. 
Why is it so hard to try a different breakfast? Or maybe another type of caffeinated beverage? I fall back on the excuse of “it works for me”, but…well…maybe the alternative would work just fine, too? It just takes me so long to try that alternative that it is sometimes laughable. 
I know I should try to change things up more often. But it’s hard. Creatures of routine and habit land on them because they tend to support the lives they want to lead on a daily basis. My morning is so much easier because I know exactly when I will get home from the gym, out of the shower, and to the bus stop. It’s almost, well, mindless. And that helps me get to work, get settled, and get stuff done. 
Maybe in other areas, though, I could stand to lighten up a bit. 
It’ll just take me a few years to get there… Of course! I know change will come eventually – something I am doing now will no longer serve or help me. But until I get to that point, well, I’m stubborn and resistant to change. And it  remains to be seen whether, well, I really NEED to change. I like the steps that Fia outlines in her post: “How, or to what, is this (fill in the blank with a particular habit) a solution?” She uses it for BIG habits (hers is waiting for others) but… maybe I could use it for my little ones? “How is (eating the same thing for lunch every day) a solution (or, working for me)?” Is this a habit that supports me in the life I want to lead? If not, then, well, it’s time to revisit it. If it’s not hurting anyone… well, I’m not inclined to change it. I know that change will come, incrementally, when I need and want it.
So this was a circular post, really. But I do like the idea of at least examining my habits and seeing if they serve me. If not – time to find an alternative. It’s a start, at least. 

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