Habits VS. Routines VS. Rituals
As much as you crave for each day to be filled with different, new experiences…
The reality is, that it's very common to repeat the same actions day after day.
In fact, habits and routines are actually a very important part of our lives…
Many people use the words “habit” and “routine” interchangeably. But it's not the case.
Understanding the difference will help you develop good routines and create good habits. So let's go over the difference…
The main thing that separates ‘habits' from ‘routines' is how consciously aware you are of doing whatever action it is you're doing.
Let's define both terms first, as it will help you understand a lot better…
A habit is something you do ‘automatically'. Usually as a result of a certain “trigger.”
You're not as consciously aware of a habit as you would be with a routine.
For example, walking past a certain store might trigger you to purchase a coffee, or have an energy drink when you're on the way to the gym…
A routine is something that requires deliberate intentional practice.
Making your bed and going to the gym are NOT things you will do automatically.
So as you can see, both habits and routines are regular, repeated actions. But habits occur with little or no awareness or thought, whereas routines require a larger amount of effort and intention…
The good news is – with the proper techniques, you can turn routines into habits. But it's not automatic…
What's the secret?
There's a ‘habit cycle' you must create and repeat. Over and over again.
It starts with a “Trigger” followed by a “Routine” and then finally a “Reward”.
So it goes like this:
Trigger >> Routine >> Reward.
Trigger: think about which triggers tell your brain to start doing the things you want to turn into habits…
Routine: take action on the routine in small, actionable chunks. Don't shoot for the stars from the very beginning…
Reward: do something you'll really enjoy, which will train your brain that this specific habit cycle is worth remembering for the future…
The toughest part is actually doing the routine right after the trigger.
And since routines are something we have to put effort into doing – and not automatic like habits – The hardest part is obviously to execute the routine right after the cue.
There are some ‘hacks' to make it easier to go from trigger to routine and build a lasting habit cycle. A popular one is called habit stacking: designed by Professor BJ Fogg, this approach consists of taking baby steps by anchoring a new tiny habit to an existing one. For example: “After brushing my teeth, I will change into my workout clothes and stretch for ten minutes.”
If you are into this kind of thing, then you may have already seen these productivity hacks. But how is it possible to scale up and take it to the next level and go beyond creating high-level routines?
What's the difference between a ritual and a routine?
The real difference is how you look at them. A routine is usually made up of actions that basically need to happen ASAP. Rituals are much more deep and meaningful.
You can turn your habits into routines by making sure to do them as soon as you notice the ‘trigger'. Here's how to do it:
You basically need to train your brain to notice some type of trigger that will tell your brain to start the routine you are trying to turn into a habit…
Then, once you notice the trigger, execute the routine. After you execute it, reward yourself with a fun activity or treat of some kind.
This will create a cycle of “trigger >> action >> reward” and BOOM! That is exactly how habits are formed.
I hope this information helps you get more done this year and beyond