“Change is not popular; we are creatures of habit as human beings. ‘I want it to be the way it was.’ But if you continue the way it was there will be no ‘is.’” – Robin Williams
How often do you simply make a decision based more out of habit than logic without giving it a second thought? More out of comfort and security than necessity?
Yes, humans are certainly creatures of habit and I recently rediscovered that reality when I found myself facing an unexpected situation.
Since my wife and I married almost twenty years ago, we’ve always been a two-car household, which statistically agrees with American families today and was completely sensible given our differing work locations, which made carpooling impossible.
Regardless of the geographical limitations, there is a certain kind of freedom associated with having your own vehicle – the ability to come and go as you please without relying on any other means of transportation or sharing a car with someone else.
But for the last three years, I’ve been successfully working remotely, with my wife only ten minutes from her job just down the road. And while our two-car household was still intact, it started to become obvious that one car was inevitably being left in the garage unused. Still, our cars were paid for and there seemed like no reason to make a change to the habit we’ve grown so accustomed to.
That was until my eldest car – a thirteen-year-old hunk of steel purchased when George W. Bush was still President – decided to start leaking from here, there, and everywhere which was both unforeseen and incredibly costly to repair for a car of its age and relative value.
As creatures of habit, our first inclination was to start searching for a new vehicle – going through ratings, features and availability until we found something we both agreed upon. Interestingly enough, the thought never even crossed our minds that perhaps this was the time to change our automatic response and try something different.
And that’s just what we did. We donated the car to a local automotive technical school for high school students and decided to become a one-car household.
It’s been almost a month now and to my surprise not much has changed. However, now instead of splitting our driving time among two vehicles, we’re utilizing just one saving on insurance, registration, gas, repairs, a hefty new-car payment, and our carbon footprint.
While I readily admit that becoming a one-car household is not ideal for everyone, that’s not the point I’m making here.
As creatures of habit, we don’t spend enough time asking ourselves the “why”.
Why am I making this decision? Is it really in the best interest of myself and my family both personally and economically? Or am I just doing what I’ve always done because it’s familiar, safe and prevents me from having to adjust to the dreaded “C” word – change.
Habits have lessened our ability to question our decisions when important choices cross our paths. We rarely look outside of what’s considered “normal” to discover new answers to old questions we may never have thought to ask.
What decisions are being asked of your right now? Maybe today’s the day your choices reflect what’s logical and progressive rather than what’s simply comfortable.