We humans are hard-wired to respond to structure, routine and consistency. It is part of why we are so resistant to change. When we have a predictable routine to follow, our subconscious brains “relax” out of the high-alert state and can shift our mental energy to other things than our survival and safety. Routines and structure allow us a sense of control over our world, a feeling of safety and security. While we don’t want to become stuck in a rut and be inflexible when change comes along, we can greatly benefit from renewing the routines in our lives that help us.
Think about it–you’re already engaged in lots of routines as it is. You most likely go through the morning routine in the same way in the same order every day, you get dressed with the same side of your body going first each time, you drive to work or other favorite places along the same route you always take. This time of consistency puts your mind on autopilot, and allows you to use your conscious thoughts to solve problems, come up with new ideas, and respond to more important issues in your life.
One of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal is our penchant for habit. And as we know, this can be a double-edged sword because it is just as easy to create bad habits as it is to create good ones. The key is to choose which habits you want to develop and then engage in those actions over and over on a consistent basis until the actions become part of your routine and you no longer have to think about them. You essentially develop a new neural pathway for that behavior in your brain.
So which habits and routines can you freshen up and renew? As we wind down the year, it is a great time to reflect on what has been working for us so we can do more of that, and what has not served us so we can stop doing those things. Take a look at your routines and decide which ones you will focus on renewing!