Not too long ago, I decided to revamp my hair care routine. I was struggling to get my hair to style how I wanted it or even in any way I thought acceptable. It was oily and what I considered unruly, and I felt constantly self-conscious of it.
Then I read a magazine focused on natural methods for everything from house cleaning to personal care. One article talked about using baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo. It’s called the “no poo” method. After additional research, I decided to give it a go. Based on my research, I also added olive and lavender oils to the routine as well and decided to only wash my hair every other day.
My hair care routine just was not working well. I kept trying different salon products with no positive progress. So, I decided to break out of that lather, rinse, repeat routine and try something radically different. So far, so good.
The Definition of Insanity
My recent hair routine revamp represents what I think we all need to do from time to time in one area or another. We get stuck and feel in a rut, but we fail to change anything, and we just keep doing what everyone else does.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein)
The idea of repetition involves making something a habit, making it automatic. Professional athletes practice the fundamentals over and over again. Writers write day in and day out. And at least to some extent, this repetition should produce positive results.
But Einstein’s point becomes clear when we realize habits are failing to produce those positive results. In fact, they may even frustrate and depress us because of the lack of progress. At times, insanity seems imminent.
This happened with my hair care routine. It’s happened in my exercise routine. My kids often develop pointless habits that need adjusted. These practices of doing the same thing over and over again with no progress not surprisingly produced the same, frustrating, lack-of-progress results over and over again.
Break Out of the Routine
While habits often produce beneficial results, they also often create a rut of frustration and boredom. When this happens, either we choose to break out of the routine or to continue on the road to insanity.
Choosing to break out of the routine includes the following elements (not necessarily steps in this order as many can happen simultaneously):
- Assess the current state of affairs. What is not working? What can you change?
- Research possible solutions and changes. Get the knowledge you need to make wise changes. Refuse to be ignorant.
- Seek wise counsel. Get advice from someone who is where you want to be. Pray a lot.
- Acquire the tools. What do you need in order to make changes? Supplies? Instructions? Knowledge?
- Obtain accountability. Let someone know what you’re doing, and ask them for honest critique of the changes you’re making. Be willing to hear what they are saying and make adjustments based on their advice.
- Find encouragement. Read about people who made similar changes with success. Get around people who encourage you to change & grow. Refuse to let negative in, and that often means shutting out the influence of culture through avenues like television & magazines.
- Reassess regularly. Go back to #1 every so often and re-assess what’s working and what’s not.
- Try different approaches. Be willing to make mistakes to figure out what works. Mistakes are great teachers!
- Nix changes that don’t work. Some approaches just won’t work for you. Keep what works and get rid of what doesn’t.
- Refuse to give up. You are not trapped. There is a way through, over, under around, whatever. Stay persistent! Quitting is the only sure way to make no progress.
Not only are these elements ones I used to break out of the “lather, rinse, repeat” routine, they are ones I have used to make changes in many areas of life. Sometimes, the changes happen rather quickly like they did with my haircare routine. Sometimes, they happen slowly over time like they did for me with defeating depression.
Never giving up really is the key. Simply refuse to quit running the race (Hebrews 12:1).
DISCUSSION: What elements would you add to the list?