I love me some ruts, you guys. I have many of them. I have a morning routine, a routine at work, a routine at the gym, and a routine for winding down at night. A strong argument can be made for the statement "you are what you repeatedly do," and I personally think that is a beautiful and powerful concept. Concert pianist repeatedly play the piano, Spanish speakers speak Spanish, happy people practice happiness, grumpy people practice being irritable, flexible people practice being flexible. Our behaviors give shape to our abilities and identities. And while we may feel like we get stuck in ruts, we are the ones who can ultimately change them.
"When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup...Water can drip, or it can crash. Be like water, my friend." -Bruce Lee
I am working on becoming more like water these days when it comes to how I think about my routines and ruts. The routines are in place to help guide the water that flows through them, and when those routines point in a direction that no longer is where I want to go, I change them. Routine/habit change is not an easy task, though. It takes energy, planning, and a shift in mindset. My secret is to find a piece of the process of change that excites me. Like water, I can more easily flow into this new habit and it will be much easier to sustain. Enjoy the things that you must do, and you will live with much less conflict.
Two key skills to develop in the pursuit of staying fluid in our habits and lives are introspection and patience. Introspection refers to us knowing the reasons for why we behave in the ways we do. Our behaviors are shaped by our deeply rooted emotional scripts, many set in motion during childhood. I challenge everyone to take a deeper look into the sources of the emotions that we experience more than others, as well as the ones we avoid like the plague. A truly free mind is one that is not afraid of feeling and asking difficult questions. This is not a one-time revelation, which is why a patient and gritty mindset is also a must. Slow and steady introspection.
What are some of your ruts and why are they there? What emotions do you gravitate towards and which do you avoid? How do you work to become more fluid in your own life?