An Examination of Our Human Habits

I don’t know why I find human habits, patterns, and routines interesting. It must be because behaviors display the inner workings of others, and I like that. So many people are set on breaking habits or forming new ones, while others are set in their ways with the same habits throughout their lifetime. 

Breaking habits, patterns, and routines is difficult because it’s where we become comfortable and can rely on predictability. Apparently forming new ones to last is also difficult because I’ve heard it takes 72 consecutive days! I’ve mentioned before how strange I think it is to not be motivated to do things that are beneficial to us. Even if it’s enjoyable I have trouble doing it everyday. I guess with conscious habits the best way is to take it day by day or minute by minute. Disclaimer, I don’t have much wisdom about successfully making or breaking habits. This is a mere contemplation.

Habits and routine become formulas for “success.” If you do this for 10 minutes twice a day, this happens. We need the tangible results, spectator’s praise, and the sense of accomplishment and purpose. People on social media post various trendy “challenges” that range from fitness to consistent photo posting. Tracking progress becomes a public affair. Seeking a little extra support doesn’t hurt, but losing sight of what this journey or end goal is really for can get sticky. Sometimes we just need acknowledgment, but sadly it so easily morphs into a measurement of self-worth.   

Then there are unconscious habits and routines. You could probably name 5 or 6 each person (pets too) in your house has. Many are endearing until they’re not. This is part of why sharing a living space with someone is an intimate experience. It’s a reason university roommates can be unbearable and why living with friends could ruin the friendship. Crossing habits and clashing routines means compromise and exercising greater self-awareness. 

I created this board to stay motivated during the pandemic lockdown–it no longer works for me, so it’s time to adjust my methods to my development

Sometimes patterns take lifetimes to change or recognize. Because I journal a lot I think I am better able to notice patterns and recurring reactions because they have been recorded. If you know what you would like to change but aren’t sure how, ask someone you trust about what behaviors you might have that keep you from the change. Be sure you’re open and prepared to receive what will feel like constructive criticism. My mom often reminds me that my anxious reactions to particular situations are patterns. This way I am able to work through it differently. 

Each time prior to leaving for travel I start to eat less, wake up earlier or wean myself off of comforts exclusive to home. I do it to prepare myself gradually for lifestyles shifts and discomforts so it’s not so shocking. I don’t know for sure that it actually works for me, but it gives me some peace of mind that the transition will be more easily adaptable. 

Few people have been exposed to the intricacies of my anxiety behaviors. I’ve cycled through different ones. The last few years I tend to express it by writing lists in tiny print on a sticky note. Usually I end up memorizing them from obsessive checking. It sounds moderately harmless, but these things do come from places of fear after all.  

A light message from personal experience: behave in the best interest of your personal wellbeing. What is the true origin of your motivation? If you are constantly self-improving, at what point will you feel enough? You don’t have to be constantly active to be worthy. If you are rooted in your routines, is the comfort really serving you? It is a virtue to be happy in simplicity, but make sure you are getting the most you want out of life. Find your balance and understand with compassion your growth points.

Love yourself, love your processes. If you like this page, please share it!

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