Habits can kill

“Routine is lethal”

A confidant once told me that routine is lethal. Because it sounded sophisticated and kind of cool, I agreed without a second thought. It also made so much sense to me—too much of anything is good for nothing, right?

But in the three years since I first heard that statement, I’ve been mulling it over in my brain so many times that I’ve begun to see it from a different angle. Even though I’m still in vehement agreement with that idea, I can’t help but wonder if there’s another perspective to it.

I follow a routine. I wake up at the same time each day and end up at work well before anyone else. I do that on purpose because I like getting in some quiet hours before people start coming in and continue the previous day’s gossip. Small talk is an essential part of the morning for most people and even though I don’t engage, it’s distracting to be around it. My solution to avoiding it is to work up a routine where I work earlier than the rest of them.

Not only do I finish a lot of my work, but I’m also more peaceful at mind. I enjoy the silence and the space it gives me to muse on my musings. I love that routine. In the same way, I leave work at the same time every day so I can get some me-time. It’s another routine that prioritises me and one I’m happy to fall into.

Routines aren’t lethal. They’re lifesaving.

However, the more I wondered about my friend’s statement, and the more I pondered on my own reality, I soon understood that there’s another side to this coin.

Sometimes routines become so routine that we lose sight of their purpose. We start doing things just for the sake of doing them, forgetting why we even do them in the first place. Most people stuck at a nine-to-five job don’t realise they’re stuck.

There’s a fine line between those who choose to follow a routine because they want to and those who follow a routine because that’s the norm. I’ve made that mistake myself and every time I catch myself doing something out of habit rather than of conscious choice, I find that it’s stresses me out.

I get frustrated that I’m doing this thing that I don’t want to but have to because that’s how I’ve always done it.

It’s senseless. It’s useless. And that’s the kind of routine that can kill our soul. Now that’s lethal.

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