I am a creature of habit.
I feel very comfortable in my daily and weekly routines, knowing where I’m going and what I’m doing. The thing is, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing.
The problem with getting too comfortable in our routines and habits is that it becomes quite scary to think about stepping outside of them.
This is something I think I need to tackle though because there is some magic in getting out there and doing things differently.
The thing is, our brains are quite lazy. By which I mean that our neural pathways work on the path of least resistance. We use shortcuts and habits to go about our daily lives without using too much brain power.
The things we do everyday end up being done on autopilot.
How many times have you driven home from work and realised when you got home that you can’t actually remember the whole drive?
Think about all the things you do everyday without consciously thinking about it.
Our brains have formed pathways for these activities that are so well used that we can do them without any real effort at all. This is why they’re safe and comfortable and familiar.
A lot of the time this is good, these autopilot thoughts and activities let us conserve our mental energy for things that need it more.
The problem is when we get so stuck in these familiar thought patterns and routines that we don’t experience anything new.
When we’re young we’re constantly learning new things and having new experiences that form new pathways in our brains. As we get older though we stop learning as much. We repeat activities and thoughts and beliefs so much that they just become part of who we are.
So what we need to do is keep experiencing new things.
Do things differently.
Stop relying on our familiar routines and push ourselves to mix things up a bit.
That’s where the magic happens.
That’s where the world comes alive for us again, as we see things in a new way and experience that child-like wonder again.
You don’t have to do anything dramatic like emigrate to Australia or take up sky-diving. Although you can if you want to. Book a football tournaments holiday instead of your usual beach holiday. Get your colours read and KonMari your wardrobe so you’re just left with things you love that suit you perfectly.
I think the best way to start though is to just make little changes on a regular basis.
Bust out of your everyday routine. Here are some things you could try:
- Walk a different route to work.
- Take pasta salads and soup for lunch instead of the same old sandwiches.
- Rearrange the furniture in your living room (remember how amazing it used to feel when you rearranged your bedroom as a teenager?).
- Workout in the morning instead of in the evening.
- Take a yoga class instead of a spin class.
- Try getting up at 5.30 if you normally sleep in
- Stay up late one night if you normally head to bed early
Try anything and everything you can think of to mix things up a bit.
Challenge your thought patterns and beliefs. Push out of your comfort zone.
It can be really scary to start with. Especially if you have any kind of anxiety, it can be hard to leave the safety of our reassuring routines.
It’s worth it though.
To feel excited about new things. To find joy and happiness in new experiences. To challenge our beliefs about the world and ourselves that we’ve held on to for so long.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post