Our daily lives, for the most part, are controlled by the habits that we have developed over our lifetime. Many times we don’t realize that the behaviors that we exhibit are habits, because they have become automatic and intentional. A lot of habits that we have are unconscious actions that automate the more mundane tasks that we have throughout the day. Many of them start at the time that we wake up and continue until we finally fall asleep.
Research suggests that up to 40% of our daily routine is habitual. It starts with brushing our teeth, to the way we make our coffee, from the routes that we take to and from work, to the way that our desks are organized. All of this has become an intentional, automatic function of our daily lives.
Habits are formed through learning. Often time, an action follows a cue. The alarm clock sounds, we hit snooze. We come home, put our things down, walk to the refrigerator for a bottle of water. We become rigid in this type of routine. When this rigidity is met with uncertainty, it creates a little chaos, so we make sure that this rigidity is always defined.
If going to the same store every morning means we get that particular bagel, then we do not need to worry about what we are going to eat for breakfast. If we go to that store enough to realize that the bagel is always there at 8:15 in the morning, then we train ourselves to be at that store at 8:15 in the morning.
This daily routine of going to the store over time becomes a habit. We know that we will get what we want when we want it, it becomes a process that has become automatic. A lot of times habits form to reduce the number of decisions we need to make. According to Vincent Carlos, in an article titled, Why So Many Successful People Wear the Same Outfit Every Day,
“every decision you make uses up your mental energy. Just the simple act of thinking about whether you should choose A or B will tire you out and reduce your brainpower. This means that the more decisions you have to make throughout the day, the weaker your decision-making process will become.”
In this article, Carlos goes on to say that successful people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, and others have automated specific tasks throughout their days, to reduce the number of decisions that they need to make during the day. This behavior, although with a specific end-goal in mind, is a habit that was consciously developed.
Our habits define us. They control a large portion of our day.