How-to: Revisiting Routines

I’ve decided to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge… again.  So, for the month of January, I intend to publish a posting for each day, which makes 31 posts in 31 days!

Why do this again?  Well, because it was so much fun last time and because when you revisit something you have the opportunity to notice something new.

What is it like when you repeat something you’ve done already?  What are your routines?  Do you have some that you have been doing for so long they almost seem like part of you rather than something you are doing?

The truth is, we are creatures of habit.  We like habits they make our lives so much easier.  They allow us to learn something and then relegate it to “auto-pilot” so that we can pay attention to more interesting things.

However, habits have the potential to really harm us.  Take for example repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel, runners knee, plantar fasciitis.  Most of these are caused by doing the same thing over and over again.  So how do you DO the same thing over and over AND avoid potential damage.

…by paying attention in a way that both allows you to notice the existing habit AND the new things at the same time.  Think of those stories of people walking by the same building year after year confident of their familiarity, only, one day, to notice a weathervane on the roof.  For most people we notice newness when something changes catching our attention; its almost as if noticing something new is something that happens to us.  You can, however, be proactive and actively look for newness, not by changing WHAT you are doing but by noticing and changing HOW you are doing it and then comparing and contrasting.

Like anything changing the way you notice yourself takes some practice. The next time you go for a run, start right at the beginning: how would you describe the quality of your movement as you tie your shoes (assuming you use them)?  When you warm-up are you determined or relaxed?  As you start your run, what is your attitude?  Are you dragging your heels or are you feeling frisky and excited to get out there?

You are practicing how to qualify your action rather than quantify it.  It isn’t a question of how far you run its a question of how you ran.  I’ll let you in on a secret, the easier, more fluid, smoother, softer, qualities are the way to run farther and for longer periods of time without damaging yourself through repetition.

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One Response to How-to: Revisiting Routines

  1. Miguel the Cartoonist says:

    I’m happy to meet a fellow participant in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m a little late in starting, so expect to see my first post a little later today than usual.

    I look forward to reading what you have to say about running. It’s my favored form of exercise, and I’m trying to find ways of doing so in this chilly month of January.

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