Old habits die hard, and new ones? Well…

Words 'the Habit' in reverse on a glass entryway

CC Licensed (Attribution) flickr image shared by brendan-c

This week I am thinking about habits. You know – that ‘old habits die hard’ thing? We have the option here at my workplace to elect a ‘summer hours’ schedule: 4 10-hour days to yield an ‘extra’ day off each week. The option started back in May. I didn’t begin my change-over until a couple of weeks in (waiting for my household to stabilize from the reintegration of the 2 kids home from college – complete with the graduation festivities of one of them – a whole ‘nother story of habits).  

Wow, have I ever struggled to reach a new level of habituation in my morning routine. Trying to leave home and arrive at the office an hour earlier than I usually do has proven to be much more of a challenge than I ever imagined it would be (we won’t even talk about how long the afternoons stretch out with the staying the added afternoon time).  

I think the issue is altering my habits. I strive for healthy/positive/green/mindful habits every day. (I enjoy Leo Babauta’szenhabits blog on the subject of habits). I get up early enough to crank out the exercise routine (because if I don’t ride that obnoxious stationary bike early, it just won’t happen). Then there is the struggle to make myself at least presentable (increasingly challenging as the yeas advance)/do the day’s measure of laundry/plan dinner/make breakfasts/pack lunches/check my calendar for anything that might require something from home, etc. All this before I can ever leave the house. Whew, I am tired just thinking about it. So, think about backing all of that up to make it possible to arrive an hour earlier than I was a week ago.  

Yes gentle reader; there is a point to this story. As I was feeling triumphant one morning at arriving in my office 10 minutes EARLY (at 7:20 a.m.);  I thought about what it means to faculty colleagues to alter teaching habits they have formed and practiced for years unchanging. That point alone explains why thoughtfully embracing and integrating a technology into the mix (for whatever reason)– until that use becomes a habit – can be quite a challenge. Learning what the new habit will mean and making it familiar is no small feat. How technology can change ways of learning and ways of knowing and ways of being is not a trivial thing.  

I appreciate that I have been allowed a bit of latitude to find the new equilibrium I need to make this new schedule work this week. I’ll need some planning to make it work all summer. And so it is with learning and integrating a new technology – think. It takes time to make it work and the transition might be rocky until the new becomes an actual habit 

Okay, before you slam be about how very much more complicated decisions and adoptions of technology are, and that maybe thinking of use as a habit a bit too simplistic – I get that. I am just thinking I need to be a little more patient and understanding as I stand by to help. 

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”  Mark Twain