Creatures of Habit

Every morning, billions of people wake up. They get out of bed. They put on clothes that are probably somewhat similar to the clothes they’ve worn every other day that week. The go to work, as they have for weeks or months or even years, and do the job that they’ve done for so long it’s become second nature. They go home, relax, and handle any domestic duties they need to. Eventually, the climb into bed and prepare to live the day all over again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. They are creatures of habit. We are, all of us, creatures of habit.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. After all, habit locks us in place. It makes us accept the current state our lives, silently urges us to simply keep moving forward. It makes it so much harder for us to pursue disruptive change, even if that kind of disruption is exactly what our life needs. Habit keeps us on a single path, no matter how much we might want to veer off of it. When blindly accepted, we call habit by another name, a name much more commonly reviled: complacency. Habit makes us weak.

But habit is also exactly what makes soldiering on when we most need to possible. Habit is what gets us out in the morning when we would rather lie there and mourn. Habit keeps us following the path we should even on the days we can’t remember why. Habit is a dependable motivator when we can’t motivate ourselves. It forms a kind of barrier around us, isolating us from the trauma that can so often debilitate us, allowing us to do the things that we need to do as we recover. Habit is what lets us fight the fight we’ve been fighting for years even on the days when we least want to fight it. Habit makes us strong.

So maybe it’s not so simple to ask whether our inclination to form habits is a good thing for a bad thing, something to accept or reject. Perhaps it is simply who we are, and like everything we are it defies such easy evaluation. It is our weakness at one moment but our strength in the next, and all we can do is judge whether or not these contrasts balance out in the favor of the good of habit. For me, they most certainly do. We are creatures of habit, yes. Long may it reign.

With excitement and optimism,