Habits & Routines

This is my first post in October, and September has proved a challenging month in many ways. Two weeks ago our eldest daughter started University in the north of England. We drove 5 hours up various motorways up to Yorkshire, traipsed up several flights of stairs with large boxes before spending a fortune in the local supermarket. My wife and I then drove the 5 hours back to the south coast.

Meanwhile our 16 year old twins have started a waitressing job at a local pub. This means most of the week one of them has to start work at about 5.30, and so gets their own evening meal. I’m the main cook in our household, and one family habit or ritual I have always tried to maintain is having an evening meal together as a family. Suddenly, with one daughter leaving and two now working, that has had to be abandoned.

If that wasn’t bad enough, my computer – only 5 months old – stopped working and had to go back to the manufactures for a new “motherboard”. I have access to a computer at work and my wife has a laptop, but again my usual routines were thwarted. This included using going through my affirmations with the Vision Board software I reviewed recently – which, although I can run the photographs on the other machines, I did miss.

These different events did have throw me and made me feel a bit lost – like environment, habits and routines affect how we function. From cleaning your teeth in the morning, to where we sit in rooms or even park our car. There was a situation recently when I went to our local supermarket and initially parked my car on one side so I could post a letter in the nearby box. I then drove across the car park to park where I usually park – even though my initial spot was nearer to the entrance! I did this automatically because it just didn’t feel comfortable parking on this other side.

OK, you can argue that is bordering on obsessional, but I would suggest that most people use habits and routines to help them function, or perform, better. And if you want to improve self confidence in a particular activity, establishing a routine so you can perform it automatically is a tried and tested route to mastering it. A simple example is a tennis player about to serve, or a football/rugby player about to take a spot kick. They practice repeatedly an identical routine.

What habits do you have – and are they helpful? I haven’t touched on bad habits, which we can return to. For now, think about if you could establish any new habits or routines to help you do things better – or even just feel better?

Shawn Murphey October 6, 2007 at 12:51 pm

The habit I have chosen over the last several days is to be more mindful! Rather than falling in to my automatic routines, I want to be more conscious in the choices I’m making. Doing things I know work rather than taking the easy route that isn’t getting me where I want to be. One way I expect this to be put into practice is to make use of all the great information I’ve accumulated over the years of personal development work I’ve undertaken – each day recalling at least one great idea/method/tip and actually USING it!

Monika @ The Writers Manifesto October 6, 2007 at 5:10 pm

LOL David,

And here I was thinking that I was weired by sitting at the same place on the table or parking in the same spot too. Glad to see that it’s just habitual after all. I guess for me it is creating a sense of security doing these things.

Another great entry you got here. You might want to check out my month’s Competition, you could easily write a nice tutorial about your topic which would be quite popular I believe with other bloggers.

Monika :-0

David October 7, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Shawn – as you say its down to using what you believe will help rather than what is comfortable. I’ve said before, and I’m sure I’ll say again, that any personal development requires change.
Monika, I’m planning a “how to problem solve” post later in the month to tie in with my Desiderata post – will this count?

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