If your life is excellent: the pattern is working!
If it isn’t, you can adjust it.
One way to adjust is to reorganize the relationship between habit and adaptability in your life.
Be Habituated & Be Adaptive
Sometimes we need to apply more logic to our life-design process. To introduce good habits that help ensure we’re on track.
Other times, we’re hampered by routine. We get rigid and don’t benefit from unexpected opportunities. We may need to exercise our adaptive natures more.
We tend to lean one way or the other. And a relatively simple tactic for adjusting the pattern of your life is to practice leaning the other way.
Lean the Other Way
Maybe you already know what your tendency is.
If you’re not sure, take Gretchin Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz.
According to Rubin, if you’re an Upholder, you respond well to structure and probably rely heavily on routine. If you’re a Rebel, you resist a schedule and improvise as you go.
Obligers and Questions are somewhere in the middle: Obligers conform to external expectations and Questioners are internally motivated.
No matter what your tendency, if your life is very unstructured, you aren’t harnessing the power of predictability, and the pattern of your healing path could probably be strengthened by adding more routine.
But if you are ruled by habit, you can probably upgrade by learning to be more adaptable.
Either way, adjusting the pattern of your healing path will disrupt the system that’s giving you the results you are getting right now. So you can begin to get different results.
You’re not the only thing that is evolving.
Fruit flies evolve (hatch, fly, die) quickly.
Continents drift (creating mountains and oceanic trenches as they go) slowly.
Quick or slow, everything is evolving. The adaptive cycle is at the heart of the world.
The ability to align the pattern of your life with the evolution of other systems (so you can take advantage of those patterns as they unfold) is an underrated skill. But if you can improve this ability, you can get the momentum of other systems to work with you
This is where adaptability, which is really just the ability to perceive opportunity and then take advantage of it, can give you significant edge.
When Charles Darwin used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ he meant that some individuals are better suited to a particular environment and are therefore more likely to thrive. They weren’t necessarily tougher or quicker, or smarter.
They were more adaptable.
A feral animal is one that has reverted from a domesticated state back to the wild.
We can introduce more wildness into our lives by being adaptable and resisting unnecessary routine.
Recovering our feral selves might be the ultimate paleo practice.
Daniel Vitalis is all about ‘rewilding’. He believes that our vitality comes from our wildness, and that “the further down the path of domestication we travel the more maladapted we become. Our health degenerates as does our will and our sense of purpose.”
But wildness and adaptability can only get us so far.
Habits ensure that the things we know we need to do get done.
Without habits there really isn’t a pattern to your healing path. Because a pattern emerges from predictability and repetition. It’s about habit.
Gretchin Rubin, who designed the four tendencies quiz and wrote an excellent book on habits Better Than Before, reminds us in her blog that “We won’t make ourselves more creative and productive and healthy by copying other people’s habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature, and what habits serve us best.”
She advocates an individualized approach. An n=1 approach.
Find What Works for You
There are many ways to approach being systematic.
To be successful, figure out what works for you through n=1 experimentation and take context into consideration. I explore context in Achieving Your Health Goals.
What Works for Me
One of my habits is oil pulling. Every morning.
As soon as I wake up I put a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth. And while I swish it around, I putter around in a quiet way, tidying my house.
With that one habit, my teeth & gums are happy and my house is orderly. My day is off to an auspicious start.
I have other habits. If yoga is in my schedule, 96% of the time I go. Because I know that going to yoga keeps me on my healing path.
Those habits work for me.
Your Healing Path
Your life is arranged to create exactly the outcomes you are now experiencing.
If you want different outcomes, disrupt the system.
Lean the other way.