Habitual behavior can be a way of allowing ourselves to live on auto pilot, helping us to glide through life while paying little attention to what we really want to do. They are yet another survival mechanism. Part of getting to know ourselves and where we are in life involves becoming aware of our habits.
Habits can be as simple as packing the same lunch for work every day, doing the same exercise workout day after day, and walking or driving the same route to work. How many times have you caught yourself ordering the same meal for lunch yet again? Or do the restaurant staff already know what you’re going to ask for as soon as they see you walk in the door, so they get straight to work on it without even taking your order?
That’s happened to me. On more than one occasion, I’ve had café or restaurant staff see me walk in, and immediately start to prepare my usual order. One time, I sat down in a restaurant where I ate on a fairly regular basis. The staff wasn’t very busy, and they had greeted me when I walked in, but no one came by to take my order. I waited and waited for them to come by and take my order. Then, all of a sudden, a waiter came straight up to my table with my usual drink and my usual meal.
I was impressed, of course. And I was also stagnating in my own habitual behaviour. Time. To. Change!
Make a list of habits that you are already aware of: write down each and every repetitive thing that you do, whether it’s having the same kind of coffee at the same coffeeshop every day, preparing the same sandwich for lunch every day, or reading the same newspaper every morning.
For the next week, pay attention to your daily habits and make note of any new ones you haven’t already written down. At this point, it’s all about becoming aware of habitual behavior.
Once you have a complete list of your habits, think about how useful they are to you. Are they any that you want to change? Are there any that you might consider changing for just a week, to try something new? Are you 100% happy with any of these habits?
This is a useful exercise to do on a regular basis, as behavior changes and we often adopt new habits as we leave off old ones.
This is an adaptation of a previous post.