Routines are tasks, chores or duties done regularly, often mechanically performed. Therefore, as most of us are creatures of habit, we develop routines which can be detrimental. So which habits are good for us? How many of them cause difficulties in our lives and the relationships with the people around us? It can difficult for older people to change routines, that have become embedded, over time. While being comfortable and set in our ways is familiar to us, we avoid fear and fearful situations. Therefore when we find comfort, there is little incentive to change.
Effort to change.
While small habits are easier to change, entrenched habits require effort. As a result it can take up to 20 years or more to develop a bad habit, therefore it can take a significant amount of time to unlearn. My own personal experience is, embedded routines and habits can be changed relatively quickly. Also this depends on how much attention we are willing to invest in changing them.
Getting my body in shape, was foundational, hiking started the transformation. I needed to walk as part of a rehabilitation program, starting with walking five days a week. Although this routine was random, as long as I walked for 1 to 2 hours everyday. Since passion follows engagement my health and fitness started to improve. In addition being professional, in contrast to being amateur, changing a detrimental routine or habit with a professional approach.
Research has to happen to get a broad perspective and to understand the nuances of the problem, to be resolved. Multi level changes didn’t seem to work, concentrating on one change first, mastering that change and using it as a stepping stone to the next routine change, seemed to work better for me. Various studies show that changing a routine, takes between 30 to 60 days of immersion in that new routine. That’s an arbitrary time frame and could be completely wrong, depending on the person. The magnitude of the new routine and the commitment to change are reflected in our personalities.
Game theory is one way of studying how an individual or group makes a strategic choice. The outcome is the result of a particular set of choices, pay off is the benefit associated with particular outcomes. Fitness and health are the foundations they become the game as new strategies are put in place. My walk had to have a designated time slot, 6am start, five days a week, increasing to seven. In the initial stages, the alarm clock was on the other side of the room, forcing me to get out of bed. Hiking shoes and socks were ready to go and clothes near at hand. My phone charged, loaded with I pod talks relating to performance and growth, water bottle ready, cap on and out the door.
Have I chosen the right talk to listen to this morning? that’s the only question. It’s early morning quiet and peaceful, walking around the cemetery, my thoughts turn to people who are no longer part of my life. This routine has been going on for a few years now, longer hikes and travel have been the only interruptions.
A conscious routine of staying in shape and listening to inspirational talks, meditation and other disciplines, worked for me. This has been the catalyst to change routines that were detrimental to me. Most bad routines and habits start in our head and have to be changed there. Gratitude for everything I have in my life, and the opportunity to hike in nature everyday, has helped me see things differently. Leading to new routines that have become the building blocks to change.
We are living in a world where change is inevitable, so we realize that we are living in uncertain times. So all challenges help us to grow, when we grasp this, everything can be looked at as just temporary. Unfortunately we become overwhelmed with problems, finding it hard to believe they are temporary. So we need to realize that with time, most things that seem overwhelming will get better. Furthermore negative habits and routines start in our minds, so our mind is where they need to be changed. Therefore tackling the mind body connection, is the first step in changing routines that no longer serve us.