Effects Of Habits In Life
We all have habits. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. We all define these habits by repeating actions (consciously or unconsciously). After repeating them enough time, a certain action become a normal thing. Every influencer on Internet or every famous people say that having routine is an important way to improve yourself. Is it totally true ? What make them say that ?
Before to try to answer these questions, we need to define which kind of habit we will talk about. It is obvious to say that destructive habits (smoking, what if questions, …) will not help you to improve. We need to distinguish constructive ones (the one which can make you happier, knowledgeable, …) and the destructive ones (the one which kills you physically or mentally). In this article we will just talk about the former one because I’m sure as a professional you’re looking ways to improve yourself everyday. However, you’re maybe not aware of the effects of them on you because it’s sometimes tricky to see. Don’t worry we are here to talk about it !
The first thing you’ll notice, when you deliberately start a routine, is how fast you increase your skill and performances. Let’s say that you want to learn a new language. Everyday, after getting up, you review your list of vocabulary, grammar, etc… You’ll notice some patterns and some ways to remember these words. At the same time you’ll try to find ways to make your review more efficient by finding new techniques from others or try your assumptions. You treat the review in a scientific way.
It’s fast and everything is new so you’re highly motivated. You love to do it and you would skip it just in case of emergency. And if you skip it you feel really bad. But after a certain time …
After a certain time comes the OK-plateaus. This one is the worst enemy of people who abandon easily because they use it as an excuse. “I’m not improving anymore”, “It’s too hard”, … So they never finish things or change their mind in short periods of time. These plateaus come after a simple natural process of your brain. At the beginning of each routine, your brain makes great efforts to let you understand everything. You’re focused and tired really quickly. But then, your brain is used to that and know what will happen at a certain time. It will spend less energy and as a result you’ll not get focused anymore. It’s just a simple task in your daily life. The problem with that is that you’ll not improve anymore, you’ll feel tired of that “unproductive task” and become more likely to say something like : “I will do it tomorrow, it’s not that important”. You’ll skip it again and again and finally you will never think about it anymore. However, it would be good if it was just about that habit but the thing is that if you abandon, you’re more likely to abandon other things and then it become a vicious circle.
Another effect of a brain used to a certain habit is that time flies. During these actions, as we saw, you become less and less focused and saw you loose awareness about what you’re doing but also about time. I’m sure you already said : “What ? Already 5? Time flies !”. And I’m also sure it was due to a succession of actions during which you was not focused (spending day at the office, …). The only thing you can do for this is to get more focused. It’s simple to say but not to do. If you’re in this case, the most important thing to do for you is to remember how scientifically you started you routine. Let’s take the example of spending the day at the office (because it’s a routine, don’t forget it). When you started, you wanted to do everything perfect, you organized everything, etc… But at some point, you saw that if you spend 10 minutes checking your emails you can give the same result at the end of the day. You then started to escaped the boring repeating tasks. But if you try to improve the methods to handle these tasks you’ll find yourself more attracted by the work you thought as boring.
If you’re interested, I want to give some links to find more information about focus and habits.
- I wrote an article about the advantages of getting focused in your daily life : Be focused or be replaced !
- Here is a book about habits by Charles Duhigg : The power of habits
- Finally, this book is more about memory but you can read about OK-plateaus in the 8th chapter : Moonwalking with Einstein
Enjoy your reading !
To give a little conclusion about this, we can definitely say that routine is good and important thing in the life. However, to keep improving and to make your habits relevant we need to stay focus on what we do. Then, to avoid OK-plateaus we need to keep find ways to improve the efficiency of our methods because without this we are more aware of abandon and then fall in the “I’ll do it tomorrow, it’s not that important” vicious circle.
Finally, if you have some ideas about some points in this article you can put a comment and I will answer as soon as possible.