Routines or habits are part of human life.
For some reason we’ve evolved to live with routines.
Maybe it’s for security reason. When we do something safe we do it again and again and that can help us to avoid danger.
Maybe it’s for health reasons. When we don’t danger we have less stress and less stress is good for our health.
I don’t know all the reasons why we have developed to live our lives with routines, but there seem to be benefits.
There can also be issues, however. We all have routines that are good and ones that are bad.
The trick is knowing the difference and being able to make a change…
Checking Facebook – My Story
A few years ago I got hit over the head with a realization:
What if I stopped using Facebook?
I had been using Facebook since about 2005 when it first came to the university I was attending. I remember it was a big deal back then. It was fresh and new. Everybody was friending each other and posting pictures and all that good stuff.
As time went by I started checking Facebook multiple times a day. That got worse when I got a smartphone and finally one morning I was checking Facebook on my phone and I realized that it wasn’t really adding anything good to my life. And it was harming my life in ways.
I would see what others were doing and it always seemed like things were excellent. That made me feel bad sometimes. I didn’t like being left out of situations.
I would also catch myself looking at my phone and my wife would want to talk to me and I would ignore her. That’s not good.
I’m glad I had that realization. I thought Facebook was a good routine or at least one that wasn’t doing any harm, but after the realization I knew I had to make a change. I removed all the friends I had and deleted the app and stopped visiting the site on my laptop.
It took awhile to get used to not checking it, but things have been better since.
Look For The Indicators
Every routine you have gives you indicators about whether it’s good or bad for your overall life. The tricky part is that we often do routines without really thinking about what we’re doing so it can be difficult to notice the indicators.
Let’s say that after dinner you have a habit of eating a bowl of ice cream. Maybe it started innocent enough (what’s the harm in a bowl of ice cream…). But time went by and now you eat ice cream every week or every day and now you have a few extra pounds around your waist. You instinctively go for the freezer after putting away your dinner plate and you’re not even realizing what you’re doing.
The indicators are there, but you’ll only notice them if you take time to assess your daily life.
A good way to assess what you’re doing is to take moments throughout the day to be in the moment. It’s kind of a mediation where you close your eyes and think about what you’re doing right now or about what you’ve done so far during the day.
In the morning you can think:
Okay, I woke up and brewed coffee. I sat on the couch and checked various things on my phone. I showered and got ready for work. I didn’t have time for breakfast so I just grabbed a donut at Starbucks.
Did you see any indicators there?
The key thing about going through that assessment is looking at things that you are happy with and that you aren’t happy with in your life.
If you aren’t happy with your health and how you’re feeling then you’ll now realize, because of your assessment, that maybe it’s time to stop the routine of checking your phone and replace it with a short workout and a good breakfast each day.
The takeaway here is that it’s important to assess what you do every day. It’s who you are. And if you’re not happy with everything then your assessment will key you in on what needs to change and what needs to stay.