Earlier this week, I was speaking to a friend about what I believe are the foundations of happiness and the framework for this blog (I know, I'm the most exciting friend ever). I was suddenly shocked when she told me she wasn't so sure about consistency being a foundational element to happiness. She then told me that she is consistent with her two children's daily routines (she seriously is the most incredible mother) and it's made things monotonous for her and her children each day.  It was then that I realized I've never really discussed the importance of novelty's role in happiness. 

The perceived battle

Our daily routines and habits shape our lives and who we become. So it's no surprise that when it comes to children, one of the best things you can do while raising them is to do it with consistency. And my friend knows this, which is why she has a routine for her family. Consistency can help children feel safe and give them permission to flourish and express themselves. It works the same for adults, except it is up to us to set up it in our lives. 

Most adults lack consistency in one area or another. Some could say it's a lack of self-control but I also believe it has a lot to do with novelty. Of course, it depends on your personality but most people begrudge doing the same things day in and day out. Setting up good habits heavily relies on being ok with doing the same thing or same type of things regularly. That sounds fine at first but can then feel like torture after just a few weeks. So we quit and try to bring novelty back in our life... not understanding that consistency and novelty are not at odds with each other but must work together to bring happiness.

The power of novelty

Habits are important because once established, they allow us to automatically do the things we want or need to do without massive amounts of mental effort or convincing. Habits allow us to free up time to focus on learning and growing, on discovering new things and integrating those things into our lives too (novelty). Once a habit is ingrained, you must start exploring new things to help you grow. Novelty can also help you continue your habits. When that workout routine starts to get dull and dreaded, you can mix it up with a new dance class or boxing. You still keep the habit of working out but the novelty of the new way keeps it fresh and exciting. 

In short, you must consistently add novelty into your life to maintain happiness. 

Winning the battle between consistency and novelty

To win the battle, we must realize that there is no battle. Only a mindset shift and an understanding that for our habits to thrive and for our happiness to be maintained, we must consistently add novelty into our lives. 

How do you feel about consistency and novelty? Is novelty something you strive for in your life? Any advice for my friend and how she can add novelty into her children's routines?


Photo by Claudio Testa