Almost daily, I find myself at the mercy of things that I have been doing the same way for as many years as I can remember. Most of these are minor and include the order of actions that I take in the morning after getting out of bed, the way in which I set a table for dinner or the number of minutes I spend on my stationary bicycle.

Recently, I have wondered if it is a good or bad habit to do exactly the same things exactly the same number of times on exactly the same days. Can it be that human beings require this type of ongoing repetitive behavior in order to achieve some secondary consequence?

It may be that we succeed in accomplishing more in any given day if we adhere to a schedule. If I try very hard, I can convince myself that my morning routine is efficient and especially on those days when I am in the process of getting somewhere, it is the most direct method of getting out the door. But I also believe that it’s something else.

Most of us spend our days thinking about concepts that are substantially more important than the methods by which we brush our teeth. If we adhere to routines that eliminate thought processes, we can reserve our brain time for more significant issues. That’s one way of looking at it.

In spite of this efficiency, I find it liberating and occasionally fun to change it up in small ways. If I adjust the way I set the table for dinner, adding something and subtracting something else, it results in variety and a change of pace. The process of changing it up also makes me feel more creative, if only in very minor ways.

My recommendation is that it’s a good thing to stretch your creativity and do things a little differently. Use muenster cheese on your burger instead of American. Add some dilled garlic to your baked chicken and see what happens. Your particular circumstances will determine the size and complexity of your variation from mediocrity. And you may be pleasantly surprised at the results that evolve from your new accomplishments. Shalom.


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