Is it routine or is it habit?

This year has been habit-breaking and habit-inducing at the same time.
Not only did I beat a decade old addiction, I have also built new routines of healthy self-soothing.
I am truly reparenting my soul, and my habits are paving the way.
Changing our lives can be done one habit at a time, but how do we create the right ones?

“The chains of habit are too light to be felt
until they are too heavy to be broken.
– Warren Buffet/Samuel Johnson/who knows

While I gave some tips on how to built a new habit here, I would like to dive deeper into how routine helps us establish habits.
In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he explains how a cue, a routine and a reward form “the habit loop“.
A stressful work call can be the cue/trigger, we automatically reach for cookies as part of a routine, and the reward is the sugar rush hitting us.
It’s important to note that the more we repeat a habit, the harder it is to unlearn.

“We become what we repeatedly do.”
Sean Covey

Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing, and revising habits makes part of it.
But we can make it easier on ourselves by observing the association our brain forms between routine and reward.
Just logically understanding we need to hit the gym is not enough, experience is key!
Our cue should be strong (the harder to ignore the better); it can be loud, an obvious object in our home, or a neon post-it.

“A nail is driven out by another nail;
habit is overcome by habit.”
– Erasmus

They say lazy people find the easiest way to get a job done.
In order for us not to weasel out of a new habit when things go wrong, we need to set up contingency plans. What if we hit snooze, run out of time to cook healthy or forget to call friends?
Try to learn from mistakes and see what could go wrong in advance:
do some meal-prep, set some reminders, rearrange our home.

This post was inspired by a reddit post on /getdisciplined by /theadoringfanbrah.
In the run up to Extinction Rebellion’s September actions I have been incredibly busy, and while I try to post at least every second day, I might be slacking on deep dives into the trauma world.
Bear with me while we try to save the planet and I should be back to reparenting our trauma-ridden souls soon!

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