Do you take time to reflect on what you do each day? Do you hear yourself saying “Why am I so busy,”? “Why does there never seem to be time for the simple things that are so important to my health, happiness, and well-being,”? How do we create habits in our lives that bring us joy, support a creative outlet, or rid us of unwanted routines?
Take a Look at Your Daily Routines
What do you do each day that is routine? Take a moment to write out a typical day. This could be a journal entry or a day from your diary/planner. Look at the details. Read back through your writing, looking closely at how you spend your time-even the smallest details. Write down what you notice. These are your habits, your daily routines.
What works? What does not work? What is missing that you might like to add? Is there a habit within your day that you wish you could drop?
Create a Habit
Habits are ways of building specific day-to-day activities into your life through routine. We live in a society that wants things NOW, but taking the time to reflect on your day-to-day habits may give you some insights into this rush. To do this, you must bring your unconscious patterns (habits) into your consciousness (routines).
Creating a habit relies on time, patience, reflection, and repetitive actions. Putting a routine into place that eventually becomes a habit (an unconscious pattern), takes observation and close reflection upon your daily activities. For example, you may brush your teeth at the same time each day, or you may put your keys in the same location to be able to grab them quickly as you go out the door, or you might check your email as soon as you wake up. It took time, commitment, and repetition to build these habits into your routine. And now, they are so built into your life they may seem like breathing.
Perhaps you noticed that you have built habits into your life that take up, or waste your time. What is something that you do routinely that you wish to drop from your life? Say, eating too much chocolate or sugar, surfing the internet too often, biting your nails, or chewing on pen tops. How can you rid yourself of these unwanted habits?
Here is a way you can begin to create a habit into your daily routine or rid yourself of a habit that is no longer necessary to your life.
What do you love to do? What is something that brings you joy and you wish to be a part of your life? Is there something missing- times when you say, “I wish” or “I wonder,” or “If only,”? Choose something you wish to make a routine. Ideas for this would be things you wish to bring into your life each and every day.
Look back through your journal or the exercise from the start of this article. What is missing that you would like to add? Is there something you have done and enjoyed, but have dropped out of your life? Keep it simple-just one thing. You may choose something such as practicing yoga or meditation for 15 minutes each day, or writing in your journal at a specific time each day, or listening to a favorite piece of music or drawing. Whatever it is, it needs to be important to you and worth the commitment.
On the other hand, what is a habit that you wish to drop? Anything that you do that you could observe and stop doing for a month is worth a look. Again, keep it to one thing that you really wish to commit to quitting. Again routines took time to establish and will take time to change, should you wish to get rid of them.
Once you have chosen a habit you wish to build into your routine or drop from your routine do the following:
- Write it down-this gives focus and clarification
- Each day, once you have completed your routine or dropped it for the day, check it off on the calendar.
- Take 30 days- check each day off on the calendar as after you have accomplished your commitment for the day. If you miss a day…start over and look to routinizing for the full 30 days.
- Observe/Reflect in your journal each day. Do you see a pattern? Have completed your task each day?
- After 30 days-observe/reflect in your journal-What do you notice?
- Reflect on any changes.
- In your noticing, think back on the first day…what comparisons can you make? What differences?
- Will you keep this routine? Have you dropped the habit? How does it benefit your life?
This exercise can be repeated each time you wish to begin to create a new habit or drop an old one.
Enjoy the little things in your life. Take time to reflect and find the joy that is yours in each moment. Create a habit. Why not start now?