You Can’t Change Your Life Without Changing Your Habits
In the midst of change, one’s day-to-day is filled with certain constant elements and habits. Habits which liberate us from having to make conscious decisions continuously. We know that when we wake up, we have to take a shower, get dressed, prepare and eat breakfast. Next, we must rush out the door in order to catch the bus, subway or the green stoplights. If you ever want to do things different we must start by changing your habits.
We don’t think about it, we simply switch over to autopilot and do it while we mentally prepare for that meeting we have in the morning or finish choosing the dishes you will serve that night to your guests. We definitely discard rice when you read on the internet that carbohydrates aren’t the best choice at night. Salad, it will be a salad and several little appetizers or snacks. It is quicker and gives everyone more opportunities to find a plate they like.
Technology and our rhythm of life have dissociated us from ourselves
The era of technology is a dissociated one, one in which the body and the mind spend a lot of time working in different directions. The body is in charge of one’s habits and the mind takes care of all things new, complicated or important. This dissociation influences, for example, our perception of the passage of time or leads us to make more mistakes in simple tasks. We leave the keys somewhere and later don’t remember where exactly. Because, while we left them there, we were reading an ad that was left in the mailbox.
The body is in charge of the bland habits and the mind of things that are new, complex or important.
Afterwards, while we placed the ad on top of the keys, we started to mentally redact the email we were going to send later. This dissociation, the fact that the mind moves at a different speed than the rest of our body, it is also born from the stress which keeps our heartbeats or blood pressure at elevated levels. It’s a little like chasing a carrot that will always remain ahead of us because the stick and the string it is tied to are anchored to our very heads.
For a moment, we close our eyes and open them again, scared by the inertia we lead and the clatter of our daily habits.
The moment arrives in which we must decide to change
In the midst of this inertia, many of us would like for our lives to be different. We would like to be more organized, spend more time with our friends, to not feel so blocked off by our problems when a friend calls to inform us that her mother has passed. When we realize the astronomical speed at which we transit through this world, we also realize that we would like for an important part of our lives to change… a change that will take place once we modify our habits.
The thing is that this won’t happen if we don’t take some action. We will never travel to that city we like so much if we don’t start saving up, buy the plane ticket, pack the luggage, buckle up and prepare to take off. You will never do it if you don’t start doing different activities, if you don’t take that first step.
We would like to be more organized, to spend more time with our friends, to not feel blocked off by our problems when a friend calls to inform us that her mother has passed.
Keep in mind that oftentimes the comfort of repetition is a form of black hole which entraps us. In the midst of these forces, change implies a decision you have to make, a cost and an execution. It requires us to take a step out of our minds, away from the imaginary games. It requires us to start to making a tangent towards our intention. In reality, making a change implies accepting and taking on risks. Risks of having our heartbeats accelerate, but with a different taste than when it is produced by stress.
The three steps towards a change
So, what can we do to make a significant change in our habits and customs? Let’s organize the process into three steps:
- The first would be to reflect upon what this particular change is going to offer. What is our motivation for going in this new direction? If it is a very long process, establish some small intermediate rewards and moments to re-evaluate this change along the way.
- Start as soon as you can. If you have decided to stop smoking, don’t wait to start next week. Keep in mind that the plan you have elaborated will hold a lot more strength if you start right away.
- Share that change with others. This way, you’ll start making the social pressure of those around you start rowing in your favor as well. It might produce some disputes later on, but in the end it will be easier for you to accomplish your goal. Besides, they will probably forgive you for it anyways.
Surely you have at some point felt this. Some changes seem so exciting and easy when you think about them as you lay in bed. Yet, they seem so tough in the morning when you wake up and go right back to your daily habits. It’s as if you put a train on the tracks, but the force required to get it moving is a lot greater.
This is perhaps the last thing we have to manage when we chase a change. Be aware that there will be times in which you’re going to fail or that it will get a lot more difficult. But, that’s okay. You always have the opportunity to try again.