Habits are a bit like pointillism, a period of art, as in this picture of Georges Seurat’s best-known and largest painting, where he depicted people relaxing in a suburban park on an island in the Seine River called La Grande Jatte.
You do not have to see the individual dots to see the picture. In fact, your eyes work to view the whole, not the parts.
It is the same with habits.
Habits mean you do not have to think about each individual step you take to get through your day. Otherwise you would be exhausted after you got out of the shower, or as thrilled as Seurat likely was after the last dot was added to this painting. Habits help you get through the day.
Think about the ways you manage the minutia in your life. How many of you place your car keys in the same place when you get home? And how many of you can recall a time when something, some tiny little thing interrupted your pattern of putting the keys there, or perhaps taking your rings off somewhere slightly different, and going nuts until you found them?
We are creatures of habit by design of nature. Doing things automatically is one way our bodies and brains protect us. And if you want to change a habit, interrupting the pattern is the best way.
More on that next week.