I am a creature of habit.
Despite my lifelong claim that I love change, my husband and I have always found comfort in the familiar. If we find a restaurant that we like, we go there—a lot—often ordering the same meals.
When we moved to Colorado a few years ago, we decided to try camping with the kids. It was not without trepidation. Neither of us went camping as kids so we had a lot to learn about buying and putting up tents, planning and cooking meals. We didn’t realize we needed an axe to split the wood until our third trip (no wonder our fires would putter out so fast). Little by little, we’ve figured it out and found a few places we like.
So we go to those few places. Every. Single. Year.
I could push myself and insist that we branch out more. I probably will someday. But for now, it seems, having that confidence in where we go and how it all works is—like a familiar restaurant—comforting.
That idea might be important. Creating new habits is hard. It’s stressful and scary. But if you do it over and over again, those habits eventually bring you comfort. We’ve all heard that it takes three weeks to create a new habit. Says who? Creating a habit takes as long as it takes.
It might take one trip to a new restaurant and getting spectacular service. That’s a few hours.
It might take a summer’s worth of camping trips, refining techniques and tactics and menus and fire building. That’s a few months.
So when I find myself struggling with making a life change, I have to remember a couple things: to create a new habit, you have to actually do it. Over and over. To find comfort in it, you have to refine your techniques and tactics. And do it some more.