What do you do on a daily basis that is repetitive, easy, and almost unconscious?
Oh, boy! A LOT.
Ever walk into your house and get halfway through making dinner and wonder if you locked your car? Me too.
OF COURSE YOU LOCKED YOUR CAR! And you opened your door with a key. And you took all the ingredients for dinner out of the frig.
When you do things over and over, your brain and your body create muscle memories. And then, with less and less brain power and effort, you repeat those patterns for maximum efficiency.
You wake up. You drink coffee. You check your email. You drive to work. You make small talk. You do a work routine. You eat lunch. You work out. You get ready for bed.
My friend is learning how to play the fiddle now. It’s like TWIN….KLE…..TWIN…..KLE……LIT…..TLE….STAAAAAAAAARR. But next year, she’s going to be faster and will use less and less effort.
How do I know? Because she’s got a daily practice routine. She is forming a new habit. And habits are transformational!!! MUSCLE MEMORY ENGAGED. DOING IT AGAIN. EASIER AND EASIER. THIS IS WHAT WE DO. WE WILL EASILY DO IT AGAIN.
Ah yes, all those habits serve you. They work. Yes. All of them. Even that chocolate habit. On some level, ALL of your habits are serving a purpose.
OOooooh boy. Now for the good stuff…
Want to break a habit??? No problem! Go backwards.
Make your bad habit conscious again: I’m doing that thing again. Oh! Yeah! I see that pattern. It’s all ok (compassion). That pattern is serving a purpose.
What else would serve the same purpose that would feel better?
If you haven’t read Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, put it on your holiday list. His book is a delight. I devoured it like chocolate because it was so satisfying and interesting. I assign it to my students. It is an awesome subject.
Gorgeous, intelligent, mindful reader: Habits are AMAZING. They take load off our brains so we work faster. They make things easier. They become muscle memories. Your good habits are sustaining you all day long every day.
And… if you ever want to change a habit, get curious and conscious about the one you want to replace. Why are you doing that thing? What is its purpose? Can you do something else that would feel better AND serve the same purpose?
Yeah, you can. And yes, you will. You’ve got this. You just need practice. Rosen up your bow. Twinkle, twinkle, little star. Soon, you’ll be enchanting us all.
Loving you out there. Create some habits you love.
But first… Did you lock your car? OF COURSE YOU DID, YOU HABITUAL LITTLE MINX! NICE JOB. Mmmmwah!