#253 Project W (double you) – S2 E7 – On forming habits

If there is one thing you really need to understand in life, then it will be the topic around forming habits.

In fact, this “strategy” is working so good, that it is actually already included into each and everyones default setting when coming on this world.

And that says basically everything we need to know, right? If the nature does it, it can’t be wrong. In the engineering world, we call that bionic. Meaning, that we have a look into the mother nature that might has already solved the problem for us and even did the long-term tests over the last couple of million years. A famous example would be the so called “Winglet“, which you can see on commercial airplanes all over the world. This design feature at the end of each wing was once discovered by checking out the wings of eagles and analyzing how they fly.

Well, it seems like this is making the point already, but still the question is of course why do we even form habits and routines without actively doing it?

Routines and habits are an integral part of our life. I can not imagine a world without them. Just imagine you would get up one day in the future and every habit and routine has gone. You would struggle with even the most easiest of tasks. You would need to focus on things that really seem unimportant all together. Let’s just take the starting up process of your car real quick. How often do you stand in front of your car and think about how to do it? Not once in the last couple of years! At least, if you haven’t changed the car or was driving something else in between. This process is already in your head. Open the car by pushing the unlock button, open the door, get in. Insert the key, turn it around. Engage the clutch, start the engine and so on and so on. By the way, it doesn’t really matter if this is the most efficient way how to do it or not, because this is just your way of doing it. Every single time you get into the car.

But why do we do that? Because otherwise life would be really energy consuming. There would be a demand for so many thing we need to focus on, that there is basically no capacity left for anything else besides that.

Simply put: Habits and routines are making life easier, therefore we use them automatically.

Well, as you can already guess. The trick is now to use this strategy for something we don’t really like to do or having a hard time doing on a regular basis.

You will actively form a habit to implement this thing into your life and once it has been established itself into your daily, weekly or what ever kind of process, you do not even need to think about doing it anymore. There will be no need for convincing you for doing it, or trying to find the motivation, or thinking about excuses why you can’t do that right now.

You simply do it automatically.

That is the reason why I write this post right now. I formed a habit to write every single day and now I just do exactly that. I do not need to remind myself about the fact that I haven’t done it today, I do not need to encourage myself, I do not need to find the motivation. I really just do it because it has become a part of my life.

If something becomes a habit, we just do it automatically.

Just imagine that someone greets you on the street. How do you react? You greet back, right? But do you think about doing that? Do you really decide on doing it? Or do you do it automatically? You just learned over time that this is how you do it, this is how people are supposed to be. Therefore you have formed a habit to do it and nowadays, this process just automatically starts when ever someone greets you.

But for sure, if you haven’t really worked with that in your exciting life, then this will take some time to adapt itself. In this blog, I want to give you the whole process with all the insights and feelings there are to know, therefore we need to talk about the downsides as well.

The downsides of this strategy.

A habit can easily become a burden, once it has been established in your life. Meaning, that you have implemented something into your life, that you personally thought was a good idea, but after a while, you realize that this wasn’t the best idea in the world. Let’s take my infamous writing example again real quick. You thought, that writing every day might be a good idea, therefore you have formed the habit of writing every day. Well. once you are in the process, you may do not really feel like continuing this any longer, but of course a real habit will force you somehow to do it. You will feel like missing out on something, or do not really finishing your days properly. Result? You will feel even worse!

Your routine doesn’t really care if you want to do something or not, right? Well, not really. A habit or a routine is just a way, how we can simplify the process of actually doing something. But it is not able to overwrite our safety system. Meaning, that you can intervene! At any time, at any place.

Therefore, its not really that easy to work with this on a regular basis, without having understood yourself a little bit better. But after a while, you will figure out how you can actually use it in your daily life, in order to get the full potential out of it.

See you next time!

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