How creatures of habit can harness the spirit of change

I ran into an old friend on the way into church this past weekend. He greeted me with, “How’s retirement? I see you closed your store.” Wow! That took me by surprise. Just to set the record straight right now, I’m not retired and we did not close our store. We moved our store. And we thought we had notified every one of our customers and prospects.

When something isn’t exactly the way we’re used to seeing it, we can get kind of discombobulated. So when people go to our business’s former location and don’t find us there, they might think we’ve closed shop. Fortunately, with today’s smartphones, people can look us up, put our new address at Market Square into their GPS, and be on their way to us in seconds, arriving at our new store in mere minutes.

Confusion doesn’t simply arise when a business moves to a new location; it comes about when products change as well. I can imagine that every one of us has had the experience of looking for a product that we’ve used for years — toothpaste, for example — and after searching every possible store, we find that the product has either been updated and repackaged or has been eliminated and replaced with something “new and improved,” much to our chagrin. Usually, after I’m through pitching a hissy fit because I can’t find the original product, I discover that the new and improved version works just as well — and sometimes better — and life goes on.

We humans are creatures of habit, and we don’t have just one habit — we have dozens. Habits help us through our days and our lives. We “do life” automatically. In fact, we do about 95% of the things we do automatically, and we can’t always take the time to think about each of these tasks.



As we grow wiser (note, I did not say older), doing new stuff, looking for new products, and learning new ways can be a little more challenging. There is a certain level of comfort in what we know and the way we know it. It can be frustrating to arrive at a destination to find the place has changed and your mission now has an added challenge … or to look for the same toothpaste in the same color packaging and find it’s been redesigned and “improved.” But then life is about new things, new experiences, and new ways.

Dr. Phil McGraw said, “We are creatures of habit, and we do what we know how to do. And if you’re gonna change the momentum in your life, then something dramatic has to happen to get you to change that.” I think driving to a place and not finding what you expected can be that dramatic moment. It’s a good reason for having a GPS.

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