Once habits become part of a daily routine, they become a catalyst for other changes and function as the calm in the midst of a storm.
Habits can be a grounding a comforting force that enable you to navigate the really big changes in life. Maybe it’s a new career, evolving family relationships or a change in your health.
This became clear to me during this week’s road trip visiting colleges with my daughter. Although we’re in a place where in theory I should be right at home, I feel a bit out of my element.
Last night we took a dusk-to-dark drive along a beautiful yet desolate stretch of California’s Highway 1. We thought it would be fun to experience it. Even after a Google search surfaced something about a “devil’s slide,” we decided to go for it.
Yet the experience felt felt cold and foreboding at that time of day. The Pacific Ocean was more grey and angry looking than I’m used to seeing.
Maybe it was the absence of many other people and the familiarity of city life and civilization that felt different. If something happened to our car or if nature really asserted herself, could we handle it?
Surely we could. We know we can handle anything that comes our way. We can figure it out.
And seemingly a few minutes later we were steps from Union Square, checking into a boutique hotel. Being there re-energized us.
Yet as lovely (and trendy) as it was, I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t feel at home. That pushed me to remember that there are things to be discovered, learned and observed everywhere you go. You don’t have to be in your comfort zone to do it.
Part of that realization came from finding solace in the familiarity of my daily dozen. Writing my morning pages, getting some exercise and doing 10 minutes of Spanish calmed me down.
These are things I do each day, regardless of where I am or what else is happening. Doing them made me forget my unfamiliar surroundings. And even better, it moved me closer to my goals.
When it feels like everything around you is changing, it’s easier to be flexible and agile by staying grounded in a set of daily habits. Not to mention feeling healthier, more rested and better able to not only navigate change but to reap the benefits of it.