Rocky Hulne: Breaking the routine

Published 4:57 pm Friday, August 18, 2023

The other evening I was out for a walk on a perfect night.

The sun was setting, the sky was cooling and the soft breeze was a gentle reminder that summer is slipping out of reach. I was satisfied with simply walking around my neighborhood and gazing at the fading sunlight across the horizon.

But eventually, I began to realize that there weren’t a lot of people out enjoying the moment. A lot of homes had lights on, but few were venturing out and about.

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It got me thinking about how we can become prisoners of our habits. In the Midwest, the winter often keeps us indoors for months at a time and we learn to become homebound. We watch streaming services, read books, play video games, or simply scroll through our phones.

When winter fades, there is usually plenty of activity for those who are suffering from cabin fever from being inside for so long. But it usually doesn’t take long before people are retreating to their routines and finding shows to watch or things to do inside.

I once heard that it takes six weeks to create a new habit, which would explain why so many of us are stuck in our ways. I too, am sometimes guilty of repeating patterns without examining why I’m doing a certain thing.

While predictable and comfortable routines protect us from stress, they also reduce satisfaction with life. It is important to remember that we only get one life and that life offers only so much time.

So go out and take a risk every now and then. Drive to a state park, go see that movie in the theaters, go to a concert or sporting event in the Twin Cities, or even take a brisk walk through the neighborhood.

You won’t regret it.