Over the past few weeks, I've been working hard to habitualize my morning routine. I read the first section of The Power of Habit a couple week ago and it's ... well, it's clued me into the power of habit. Go figure.
It's full of fascinating brain science. Apparently, when we perform habitual actions, we use a deep and ancient part of our brain, a part of our brain that isn't even controlled by conscious thought. Patients that have lost all capacity for memory formation can still form habits. They can't remember where the kitchen is, but when they're hungry, their hunger habits kick in and they walk right over to the pantry to fetch themselves some chex mix.
Habit formation is an efficiency. When performing habitual actions, we're on a sort of auto-pilot. Our conscious brain hands over controls to that deep, ancient part of our brain, which leaves our conscious brain free to focus on more pressing matters.
That way we can make a fire outside our cave - the same fire we make every morning - while scanning the horizon for cheetahs.
Or, you know, mindlessly make coffee every morning while we run through the day's to do list.
It's not just about coffee and fire, though. Many of the decisions that impact our quality of life, like how we eat and how we work - those actions are largely controlled by habit. Our habits can make us prolific writers with strong, healthy bodies. They can also make us distracted writers struggling to produce content, struggling writers living in weak, diseased bodies.
And since I would obviously prefer the former, I've been working hard to form the necessary habits. It's like building a Ruth Golberg machine, one that I want to make breakfast and write blog posts and do yoga every morning.
I'm building my habit machine, day my day. It's working, and it's powerful. For the first time in along time, I see the opportunity for real and permanent change.
My work life, my exercise life, what I eat, how I spend my time - they, all of them, will bow before the almighty power of my habit machine.