Why You Should Break a Routine

Stuck in the same habits, day after day, there seems to be no escape. Same job, same complaints to your friends and same television shows each week. You may feel stuck and bored or tired and lethargic. No one can be the best version of themselves when they are trapped in a routine that doesn’t allow for them to grow. Let yourself go and live a little. Free your mind from the trappings of behavioral habits.

Step outside your comfort zone.

When you are terrified to do something, seek it out. Deathly afraid of public speaking? Volunteer to present first. Worried about what people will think? Block that out of your mind or show them you don’t care. Are you saying no because you deeply fear what you are asked to do or just because you say no out of habit?

When you keep the same rhythm every day your body and mind gets used to it. A prime example of this is jet lag; your body has to adjust it’s rhythm to a different schedule. The same thing can happen with the mind. You see a red light and you immediately think stop. We weren’t born to think this way. It was a learned trait that was instilled in us as children when we played red light, green light.

Go somewhere that does something different than you are used to (i.e. driving on opposite sides of the street in London). Your mind will first be confused and refuse to accept that what it is seeing could be the right way. It will try to fight back and force you to think the way you are trained to think. Why not just keep your mind silent when you see a contradiction to the norm? You may open up even more opportunities for your brain to discover and learn.

I am not saying all habits are bad. What I’m saying is that you must try to be consciously aware of your routines and make sure they are logical and positive enough to continue repeating. Maybe there is a better way of doing something you do multiple times a day. Maybe it is better to just do the task once a day and it would save you more time overall. You may never know though unless you think about it.

For one day, take a step back from everything you do and say, “Am I doing this in the best way possible?” The self-talk might go a little something like this:

“I put my shirts, backpack and coats with my right arm first each time. Okay, that one can’t really be improved. What about my commute? Well I could try to work earlier hours and spend less time in traffic. When I come home from work, an hour goes by before I know it. I should use it more effectively. I can’t fall asleep right after watching television, maybe I should read to unwind before bed.”

A simple conversation with yourself throughout the day can lead to the realization that you can change your habits in a positive way. Remove habits that aren’t value added and optimize ones that are. Try it out and let me know how it goes.