Habits are an essential block in building one’s disposition. A combination of prior conditioning and lifestyle intention sees our behaviour shape and repeat. Society assess a “habit” by the adjective placed before it; the idea of a good or bad habit is socially defined, it collectively categorizes the behaviour of people into positive and negative, conscious and unconscious action.
Our conscious habits skirt the template of our being, along (and sometimes intertwined) with opinion they deliver some sort of individual effigy which can be examined and understood. Our unconscious routines may not be as determining but still illuminate the layers of the mind, actions rotating from an active choice to an almost involuntary response.
Strength is found in routine, in knowledge of what will be confronted during the day and how to engage adequately, however, are the day’s encounters or the routine the vocal point? Can the individual be pulled from their routine and still harness their strength?
Momentum Of Habit
The momentum of habit is hard to break; when a routine is cemented the whole body becomes an apparatus for achievement, providing chemical incentives for accomplishing what’s expected. A major advantage of habit is the ability to structure life’s events, making it a little easier to prioritize affairs and get into the feel of the day. When one interlaces with their routine they are drawn closer to Flow state, an equilibrium of optimal engagement where people are fully immersed in the experience of an activity. By introducing new constructive habits the snowball effect can occur, promoting repetition of improvement and advancement.
Having a solidified routine allows for a vivid display of progression, it underlays individual effort to see how close they’re getting to where they want to be. Our habits bring us many benefits, although, they can also lead us to neglect particular aspects of our existence.
Those falling into a productive routine with work can often neglect their social side, those too interested in their aesthetics can neglect their intellect; the hierarchy of habit sees people become inattentive to elements needed to develop a wholesome individual. The right habits can also be done for the wrong reasons, people moulding their personality to befit a stereotype not their own skin.
Habits, both conscious and unconscious, offer a lineage between personality and behaviour. Conscious habits are not merely coincidences but thought displayed as action, unconscious habits shine a light on what one has previously avoided or sculpted. When shaping one’s overall temperament both conscious and unconscious habits matter; if you call yourself a environmentalist yet instinctively throw cigarette butts on the ground, what is it saying about who you’re pretending to be?
An Inflexible Existence
In committing to a routine we can have more control of our environment, but our habits may also leave us inflexible to life’s changes. “And then one day you’ll find, ten years have got behind you”, Pink Floyd’s lyric illuminates a major issue with people falling too deeply into routine; without periodic change or stimulation, years will vanish in a state of comfortable monotony.
Habit constructs a cage around individuals giving them confidence to face life with poise, but, without alteration from routine, the cage becomes immobile limiting the situations where they feel comfort. We may develop strength whilst in the cage but its potency is trivial if it cannot be used outside, real strength comes from testing information in new circumstances to see what holds legitimacy.
This inflexibility can be auspicious when it comes to aspects like keeping in touch with family and friends, maintaining health and continual learning, however, if one’s life revolves around routine, anxiety will be induced when events fall out of favour.
Conversely, people can also be unyielding about not committing, to make a habit of avoiding anything resembling an obligation or responsibility. This may seem like a free flowing existence but it can also lead to a life without foundations, never being able to fully commit to something because the idea of commitment weighs burdensomely above.
To reduce the rigidity of life there needs to be an effort to merge routine and novelty to produce an optimistic hybrid. Our habits are integral in developing our person, but should be regularly changed to discover how we interact with an assortment of settings. By removing oneself from the normal routine and implementing new experiences (e.g. travelling, new challenging activity, learning new skill) one can see how habit is a stencil helping create art, not the art itself.
Habit may be essential to assembling our lives but it can also leave us caged, immobilized by the weight of repetition. When incessantly sticking to a routine strength comes from the control one holds over their environment, but if removed from those surroundings how potent is the power? With the help of new experiences routine can be regularly altered, being extracted from stagnation and cast into novelty enhances knowledge of what we enjoy and are capable of. Life is a continual flux of moments and energy, whilst it perennially flows change of habit, routine and lifestyle install a sturdy platform to keep life balanced.
Image Source: Yakai Du