Building habits when you love change

I was texting with my mom today and she was asking me how I was doing being away from home for so long. I kind of laughed it off and blamed her for turning me into someone who gets antsy when I’m any one place too long. We moved a lot growing up. I’m fairly sure that’s turned me into someone who craves a change of scenery every so often. I haven’t lived consistently 12 months-in-a-row in one place in over 10 years. Last summer we spent a month of the summer in Florida, then two weeks away from home in Canada. The summer before that we spent a month in Paris. The summer before that I spent a bunch of time all over. You get the idea. Even at work, about every three months I’m itching for even a slight change.

I’ve learned to love habit and routine. It’s a little bit of normal in a whole lot of change. Change I like, change I choose, but change nonetheless. These daily habits help me adjust. They’re predictable. This summer few things are predictable except that I load the dishwasher and run it after lunch and before bedtime. The TV is off all day long until 7 or 8PM and then my in-laws turn it on and watch it until they go to bed. I have a coffee at 1PM. These are some predictable things.

It’s possible I’m a weird genre of people who like change. At times the comfort derived from habits borders on OCD. Eg: Willy will try and get me to walk a different way to work and I get weird. It makes me crazy (thanks to The Power of Habit I understand why!). I walk  one way to the metro in the morning and a different way back from work. That’s just how I do it.

Keep at it

Despite the fact that I find comfort in these routines, when there’s so much change it can take a lot of work to rebuild routines or start new ones. For the first few weeks here I had a morning routine that I was enjoying. I have no idea what derailed it but I haven’t done it in easily a month. Now I’m trying to go back and restart it. It will take some effort at first. The momentum will come as I enjoy the routine. I will feel less and less like I’m working at it.

But it’s almost a fact in my life that some sort of change will come up in my life, there will be another blip on the radar and I’ll have to fight for consistency. It’s predictable. It’s almost a routine in itself. Fail. Start up again. Succeed. See things start to nosedive. Correct. Succeed. Fail again if I’m not giving it the attention it requires, or if I’m stressed or something.

It’s a pattern I’ve noticed and I’m working on.

Are you someone who likes a lot of change? Are you able to form good habits despite your enjoyment of change?

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  • Lindsay Fleetwood

    I can definitely relate to moving a lot, I’ve averaged twice a year for the past 5 years. I find it kind of fun to move into a new place and discover it’s unique quirks. It’ll be weird to have to work a job for more than 4 months at a time once I graduate because I’m so used to leaving when I’m just getting used to things…. I can definitely say my habits go all haywire as soon as I do something like go on vacation or move locations again.

    • Jess Versteeg

      I used to get antsy as a kid and ask my mom “When are we moving next?” because I got sick of the house we were living in at the time.

  • Karin

    Hang on. Coffee not until 1pm?? Dishwasher twice a day??!! Do explain.

    • Jess Versteeg

      Dishwasher twice a day: we’re four people living in this house working from home currently and it fills up quickly! As for coffee: I’ve never gotten into the habit of drinking it in the morning. I crash at 1PM and that’s when I *need* it.

      • Karin

        No coffee in the morning. I seriously just died a little bit inside.

  • Katy Parks

    As someone who moved a lot growing up, I can identify! I often enjoy change, or at least a change of scenery. I like going on trips. But I have learned too much change can stress me out, and it’s maintaining those important habits can help us still feel grounded.
    I hope you live out those routines you love! While still being ready for whatever change comes your way. 🙂