Almost every Monday to Friday for the past five and a half years, I have gone to the same CrossFit gym. Every day, I have driven there and back the same way. I have literally done it so many times I’m pretty sure I could do it in my sleep. Recently, there has been so much construction in my area that a drive which usually takes six minutes now takes half an hour. Day after day, I kept taking the same route, getting increasingly agitated as it seemed to be getting worse and worse with further construction at almost every turn of my established path. Now, you’d think what with all this upheaval that I would try something new, but it only just occurred to me the other day to what extent I’m a creature of habit and how this whole scenario has been trying to give me a very important message about MY LIFE.
I had gotten so used to going to the gym a certain way and coming home a certain way that it became THE WAY, at the expense of all other possibilities. As soon as I realized this, I discovered an entirely new path and allowed myself to break out of my zombie routine and to explore… what do you know, construction or not, this route is a zillion times better than the route I had taken all this time! While the construction is still present, and while there is a part that I can’t avoid, I now see potentials and pathways I’d been missing out on while wearing my “blinders” - pathways that bring more ease and joy, shifting a reality I hadn’t even realized I’d been reinforcing through habit. The biggest message I got is that while it’s easy to stress about making big life changes when we’re feeling agitated or dissatisfied, sometimes it’s about looking at where we're on auto-pilot and taking steps to trip it up - to do something different, no matter how minute, and to trust that being open to another way of doing something has the power to unlock you from the prison of predictable circumstances and experiences and to alter the course of your entire life.
Though you may not personally share this experience of obsessively taking the same route somewhere to the exclusion of all other possibilities, the point of this post is to get you thinking about where in your life you ARE a creature of habit and how that has served you or not. This post is to get you thinking about where you are wearing blinders – where you do the same thing over and over without even realizing it perhaps, and how that has reinforced the “same old” reality. Whether it be how you approach elements of your daily personal routine, your work, your relationships - what motions are you going through on auto-pilot that are in need of a wake-up call to help you shift towards a better experience of life?