Are we living our lives intentionally, or do we live our lives habitually? Habits can be a double-edged sword: they can serve us, and at the same time they can destroy us. We can set them intentionally, or they can sneak up on us.
Once a behavior becomes a habit it is something that we do without any thought. Day in and day out we just do it. In fact sometimes we don’t even realize that we do it. Over time it has become second nature and completely unrecognizeable as something that we created. It feels as if it has always been part of who we are.
It is my ritual to get up in the mornings, go to the kitchen, take my favorite coffee beans and put them in the grinder. While they are grinding I get fresh cold water and start it to boil, then I carefully measure the coffee into my press and patiently wait for the water to come to a boil. I pore the hot water into the press, flip my timer and let the coffee brew. Ahh, the smell of that coffee is amazing. I gather my mug, my spoon, raw sugar, and my cream while the coffee steeps. Then I carefully pour the steaming flavorful brew into my favorite mug. I take it to my chair, get out my journal and enjoy that first few moments of the day. Is this a habit, a ritual, or an addiction? I like to think of it as a ritual it just sounds nicer, it’s something that I just do automatically, something I enjoy, and I am grumpy when I do not get to do it because I know that first taste is all it takes for me to brighten up and smile at the world. Good or bad, it is one of my habits.
How much of our day-to-day life do we live out of habit? Every day we do the same things in the same ways and never think about it. We check our email, drive to and from work the same way day in and day out, we eat the same foods over and over, watch the same shows, vote the same way, hang out with the same people, and never really live our lives with full awareness and intention. One day we look up and our lives have zipped by us and we wonder where it went.
I am inspired to take a careful review of my day-to-day life and see what my habits really are, which ones are serving me, and which ones are no longer serving me and should be given up, or replaced with a better habit. What has become a ritual like my coffee in the morning, and what has become an addiction? It should be an interesting process, but I know that I want to live a more intentional life and not a habitual life.