We, as humans, like routine. Even people who seem to thrive on change have routines in place in their lives, even if they don’t think about it.
Study after study has been done with the importance of routine for young children, how their security is anchored to the predictability of their lives.
No matter how old we are, we all set certain routines in place so our lives run more smoothly and so we feel secure in knowing what comes next. It may be in small areas like the order you do personal hygiene activities (shower, hair makeup, teeth, etc) or what you eat for breakfast (oatmeal & coffee!) or the roads you take to work. It may be in larger areas like the colors you wear or the kind of car you drive.
You may intentionally create these routine or they may seem to have happened “by accident”. Whatever is the case, we are creatures of habit, and because we are creatures of habit, the quality of our lives is simply the quality of our habits.
Habits also keeps our lives running smoothly without much apparent thought or effort. Once habits are established, they happen pretty much automatically.
Have you ever driven somewhere that you go often (like to work or school or to the grocery store) and once you are there you don’t remember the drive? That’s because the drive is a habit, your brain can get you there on auto-pilot while it is dealing with something else.
This can be both good and bad. It is important to practice being in the present. We can relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, the wind, the smell of flowers the warmth of the sun, the giggles of our children, the cozy snuggle times.
But, habits keep life running smoothly during times of stress, emergency or big change. Being able to keep these basics of life under control actually reduces stress and feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness and overwhelm.
Having the basics of home and family life under control provides us with the time and energy to focus on other things that are also important to us.
Most families live in the urgent rather than in the important.
Reading the Bible together at breakfast gets pushed to the side because everyone is running late. Evening family time doesn’t happen because after activities, supper and homework there is not time and everyone is exhausted. Emergencies happen but they shouldn’t happen often.
By developing habits we can take care of the “urgent” so that it doesn’t become urgent! The everyday things don’t just happen (or don’t just happen smoothly). Food, cleaning, health maintenance, family devotions can all be developed into habits…so they happen almost without thinking about them. Then you will have the time and energy to focus on other great things.
Many famous people have used rather simple routines to facilitate their achievement of great things. Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Beethoven, Ghandi, Steve Jobs, John Grisham, and many others all achieved great things through harnessing the power of habit.
We can harness the power of habit for our families by creating routines that help everyday life run smoothly. The Simplified Home Management page links to many articles to help you develop habits and systems for everyday life.