Friday, March 27, 2009


They say you have to do something 28 times in a row in order for it to become a habit. (this is my 28th post). Why is it that it takes all that to form a good habit, when bad habits can happen overnight? Picking my nose seemed to take no time at all.

The fact is I am not a habitual person. I don’t really do anything with any consistency. I not a big fan of routine. Garbage day has been on Wednesdays since I can’t remember when, however I still find myself madly gathering the cans and running for the lane when I hear the truck.

I remember as a kid wondering ‘why are beds always made this way?’ I took the sheets and blankets and lay them at odd angles. Stupid eh?

Why do we form habits? What is the true benefit of a routine? There is an amazing scene in the movie Smoke, with William Hurt and Harvey Keitel. Keitel’s character, Oggy, has taken photographs of the same intersection at the same time, every day, for thousands of days in a row – he says it’s his ‘life’s work’. He is showing them to Hurt’s character, John, who is a writer who three years previous lost his wife. John is hurrying through the albums assuming he is looking at the same thing over and over. Oggy, encourages him to slow down “you’re not really looking”, he says.

All of a sudden John comes upon a photo that shows his wife walking across the street in the morning. “yah, she used to walk to work that way everyday back then”. I saw in Oggy that his routine provided him the opportunity to see subtlety, subtlety that is missed when one is always on to the new.

Athletes, dancers, musicians, contemplatives – all know how much habit and routine affect their craft. Often it’s doing the same thing over and over again that allows the new to emerge. I’ve been inconsistent for so long though, its going to be a hard habit to break.

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