How Forgetting to Shampoo Led Me to an AHA! Moment
The other day something crazy happened when my routine literally imploded. I got some pretty strange results that made me ridiculously aware of a routine that I usually pay zero attention to. It’s amazing what happens when we move against a well defined habit.
Have you ever put conditioner in your hair before shampoo? Well, let me tell you, your hair ends up feeling pretty strange. And it was in that moment when I was rubbing conditioner into my unwashed hair I couldn’t stop thinking about just how powerful our routines can be.
(In case you have an inquiring mind like me and need to know just how I got so off track, here you go: You see, I got in the shower with a mud mask on. Usually I get in the shower and wash my hair and then my face. And then after I’ve washed my body and shaved THEN I do conditioner. But I got in and started with my face and well, the rest is history.)
I know this is a seemingly innocuous story. But not only did I feel physically strange (for reals, conditioner should always happen after shampoo y’all) but I felt emotionally off-kilter too.
Routine = Autopilot
We are creatures of habit. It’s actually a survival mechanism. Our brains want to maintain the status quo. They are efficient. The brain will find a pattern of behaviors that it believes is the most efficient and best way to complete a task given its current information so that it can spend more time being alert watching for giant animals that might attack and eat us.
But we don’t have that attacking predator issue so much anymore…yet our brain is still wired to create habits so that brain power is open to potential threats.
Are you Getting the Results You Seek?
So, my question for you is: are your routines producing the results you seek?
Are your routines helping you improve and grow, or are they holding you hostage to results you are unhappy with?
Your results in life are a direct reflection of your behavior and habits. Your behaviors are driven by your emotions and your emotions are created by your thoughts. Often we try to change and control all of the external factors that surround us in order to get different results. But the only thing we truly have control over in our lives are our thoughts, beliefs, and visual imagery.
If you want to change your results, look inward. If you want to change your routine, to replace the habits that are driving dismal results, we need to look at the thoughts that are driving the car.
It’s All About the Feels
Everything we do in life is because we want to feel or avoid feeling a certain way. But sometimes our habits are working against creating what we want…
So I think an easy example for understanding this is the desire to lose weight. If we have an underlying thought that we will always be fat, then our habits will reinforce that thought to prove it true…we won’t prioritize working out, we won’t change our diet, we will continue to do the things that make us gain weight…you know, like eating a sleeve of Oreos right before bed.
So even though we want to be skinny, until we resolve the underlying belief that we will always be fat then we will have a ridiculous amount of difficulty creating sustained behavior change. Just look at most of the contestants that were on the Biggest Loser television show. Most of them gained all the weight back because the focus was on changing the external behaviors and not the internal thoughts and beliefs that were driving the car.
Clarity is Key
So, take the time to decide what feelings you want more of in your life. Next, look at your routines and habits. Are they working toward that feeling or against it? Then, examine the underlying thoughts around that behavior.
Changing our thoughts is the most sustainable way to change our behavior. Otherwise you’re relying on willpower and resistance, neither of which are sustainable or feel very good. Changing thoughts eliminates the self-sabotage that typically prevents lasting habit change.
The good news is that a routine can be changed. Awareness is key. Look at the different routines you have, check out those habits and get real about whether or not they are leading to desired results. If they are positive and working for you, awesome. But if they aren’t then having clarity about what’s not working is the first step in making a change.