Habitualize it

February 18, 2015 by Joshua
in Creativity, Fitness, Habits, Tips

My friend, visiting from overseas, described the difficulty we all feel away from home when we can’t do the morning routine we like. Nearly everyone has a morning routine that starts their day right for them.

I see a higher-level strategy: if something happens regularly, habitualize it. I love discovering things, but I don’t see any benefit in trying to discover a new ordering between showering, eating breakfast, brushing my teeth, and the things I do every morning, or wondering if I should add new elements. I may vary it somewhat based on season, if I’m in a hurry, etc, and I’m open to hearing about things I never knew about, but basically I know what I’m doing.

How much mental energy and attention do we devote to things we could not worry about to free our minds for other things?

At around fifteen thousand mornings into my life, I benefit more from exploring other parts of my life. Habitualizing the regular parts facilitates exploring other parts for discovery and joy. Trying to decide if I should do burpees doesn’t benefit me. Making them a habit so I don’t try to decide and instead just do them does benefit me.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing regular and habitual about learning and pushing my development in teaching, coaching, and developing courses. I’m constantly striving to improve in that area. Habitualizing other areas frees me to explore in that area. Freedom exists within structure. Constraint promotes creativity. Choosing to habitualize something also forces me to think about that thing in more detail, to consider what I might miss if I regularize it.

I guess some things you have to be careful not to habitualize when there are life discoveries left to be made, but there are still plenty of things you don’t have to worry about. I’m not going to wonder what happens if I don’t brush my teeth. It’s a habit.

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