I read an article somewhere that the brain is a very "expensive" organ for the body to operate. Therefore, the brain will try to automate as much behavior as possible, even trying to run on empty if it can. This is why we become such creatures of habit. It's especially true for people as they get older.
Every time I go to the gym, I see some of the same people doing the exact same workout every single time. The same cardio machine, the same setting, the same length of time, usually even wearing the same clothes and shoes.
|Hello, hamster wheel!|
It wouldn't be hard to understand why those people might get bored and unmotivated to work out. I get tired of just seeing those people doing the same thing day after day after day!
The routine applies more to just working out. It applies to life in general. We all know our drills. Getting ready for the day in the usual pattern. Taking the usual route to work. Eating the usual foods. Doing the usual activities in the office in the same manner.
After awhile, our daily existence can become a collection of auto-pilot habits where our brains essentially switch off. This is the explanation behind why sometimes people have no memory of, say, driving a familiar route after they arrive at their destination.
The remedy is simple. We need to frequently take on new and increasingly difficult activities. This will help maintain the vibrancy of our minds, bodies, and lives.
I had already begun mixing up my workout routine over the last few months, both out of boredom and out of necessity. More recently, though, I am making it a point to try changing some of my little daily "life" habits.
This includes things like taking a different route to work, picking a different spot to sit in the kitchen, grocery shopping in reverse order. I am right-handed but I've tried doing more things with my left hand, e.g. opening the door, brushing my teeth, using the remote control.
Speaking of being right-handed, trying to do some of these things with my left hand has made me realize just how right-handed I really am. Perhaps the more right-handed I am, the more right-handed I am making myself because I always cater myself towards being right handed (if that makes sense)?
In any event - just because a routine is small, doesn't mean changing it won't make a difference, especially over time.
Heck, just coming up with the little daily things to change has been a nice challenge. That by itself is a good way to keep the mind fresh, no?