Habits from Our Past

How often do we do things just because that is the way it’s been done? There is a story that has circled the Internet many times, and different versions exist. You may have heard of the pot roast whose ends are cut off before putting it in the pan. It is just the way it has been done, but it turns out that the only reason it began, was that it would not have fit in the pan otherwise. In the meantime, generations have been cutting off perfectly good meat for no other reason than “that is the way my family does it”. This certainly sounds anecdotal, though carries a message for us. What do we do simply because that is the way it has been done?

It’s easy to just do things the way we’ve seen them done. How often do we stop and think about whether it works for us and the way we do things? Or that we dislike doing some things due to our previous experiences?

I strongly dislike drying dishes. Growing up, I was in charge of drying dishes. I rarely washed dishes. I became genuinely curious why this happened, so a few years back I asked my mom. Although it was not a definitive answer, the theory was that when she was growing up, she was in charge of drying dishes and came to dislike it. How interesting and actually funny! It reminded me of the pot roast.

We are shaped in various ways by our past. If it benefits the way we do things, great. If it creates more work for us, then it might be time to make changes.

Many people grew up with a day that was devoted to cleaning the house. It was the day that all the dusting and vacuuming was done. A good friend of mine prefers this way of doing things and energetically dives in each week. I personally cringe at the thought and immediately feel overwhelmed. I found another approach that appeals to me more, where 5 days of each week I do some cleaning, so that the whole house is cleaned regularly.

Are there things that you can do differently that will make your life easier? Even small changes can make a huge difference to your energy level and the amount you get accomplished. Are you storing things where and in the way that you use them? What minor changes can you make to simplify your life?

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