Balancing Habits – Day 12

30-Day Writing Challenge

I’m a person of habit, which some people envy, but there’s always a negative to every positive. The obvious benefit of being an extremely habitual person is that you’re able to manipulate your routines into activities that improve your health, intellect, and emotions. 

For me, this takes the form of daily exercise, reading, journaling, meditating, researching, and writing. It’s not only the habit of doing the same activities every day, but it’s the time I do them as well. The tasks that take a lot of mental energy or deep reflection are placed at the beginning of my days and everything else is placed near the end. With that said, this strict structure causes massive internal conflict… 

A good day for me is when I’m emotionally stable, well-rested, semi-productive, and progressing with my main priorities, this means all the stars need to align. If one activity (especially morning) is cut short or skipped my internal expectations for that day collapse. This one simple thing can literally throw away my entire day, so I’m extremely reliant on habits for my mental well-being… 

It’s not sounding so good now, huh?! HA

I realize that this heavy reliance on certainty throughout my days is a big weakness of mine and it’s something I’m working to mitigate, but it’s not easy. I can get emotionally overwhelmed when my internal expectations differ just slightly from the reality of that day’s events. 

One useful trick I’ve found to reduce the anxiety that comes with a possibly uncertain day is actually planning uncertainty into my days when they’re known beforehand. For example, when I know I’m going to have an uncertain day I set internal expectations through journaling… But this only solves a small subset of uncertain days, the one’s I’m actually able to plan for, which contradicts the whole idea of uncertainty. Right now, I’m proactively planning for uncertainty, but what happens when I’m caught off guard? I need to figure out how to reactively adjust my internal expectations once something has already happened. 

The “unknown unknowns” are always the worst, but they happen way more than I would like them to. 🙂

I have no answers at the moment for dealing with the surprise shocks to my strict routines, but I’m working on it and will let you know once I hopefully figure it out. 

The moral of this story is a simple one… Balance is key to everything – even habits. Being a habitual person is good, but only to a point. Once you allow your habits and time-based routines to run your emotional well-being, then you’ve become a slave to these rituals. 

Be balanced – Not too ritualistic, not too chaotic, find that happy medium.