Inhabiting a Habit (…or "An INFP is Converted")

I’ve been thinking about habits a lot lately.  Thinking being the key word, I guess.  You see, over Christmas break, I read this book: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

You have to read this book!

It was a truly eye-opening exposition on how habits are formed, why starting one good habit can lead to other good habits, and how to get rid of bad habits.

If you ‘ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably remember my original post about routines, in which I ranted about how difficult it is to enjoy routines as an INFP because they can be, well…boring.

This guy made the point that habits are not controlled by the same part of your brain as thinking and memory — they are located in the more primitive part of your brain.  So doing something like putting your coffee cup instead of the cream in the refrigerator is just a result of your brain being on “auto-pilot” without input from your higher-level thinking.

In other words, if you are bored by a routine it’s your own fault.  Rethinking routines lets me see them as an opportunity to let my body and lower brain automatically do what needs to while my higher-level thinking processes pay attention to something much more interesting.  Win-win, right?

I just have to stick with the habits long enough to let them become automatic…ah, there’s the rub.

I am starting simple with two things.  1: Making the bed every morning.  2.  Putting my things away when I come home from somewhere.

Sounds simple, no?  We shall see.  I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten to the end of the week and found piles and stacks all over the kitchen table (because it is right by the door and the first convenient place to dump things when I walk in).  And it’s been a long time since I’ve been a regular bed-maker.

But I am looking forward to the day when I won’t even notice that I am doing these bland chores because my mind will be off cavorting somewhere pleasant… like admiring a sunrise…

 
…while my lower-brain limbic system slaves away unnoticed.
 
 Poor thing…
 
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2 thoughts on “Inhabiting a Habit (…or "An INFP is Converted")

  1. Egad! You're going all FlyLady on me, daughter! Great post! I am inspired to read the book. I think that, on some level, I already knew this – your post hit a nerve. In a good way.

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