Every year the Muslim world celebrates Ramadan, and this month of fasting and feasting brings radical changes to the routines and expectations of the whole society.
Some of the typical changes are:
-School and business hours are shorter
-Sleeping patterns shift
-Exercise patterns shift
-Events are postponed
-Traffic patterns change (quiet mornings, busy nights)
-Sales quotas or productivity expectations adjusted
Everyone experiences large disruptions to the typical routine during Ramadan, and this provides some challenges and opportunities for our effectiveness. New routines allow us to re-examine our habits, and make changes to our lives that may bring us closer to our goals and ambitions.
The opportunities within Ramadan are to begin some good habits, and break some bad habits. For example, eating dinner together as a family, prioritizing your spiritual life, or taking a walk before sunset are positive habits that can be developed during the month. And reducing the money we waste on unhealthy lunches, or the number of cigarettes we smoke are some negative habits that can be controlled or eliminated during the month.
The challenges within Ramadan are to maintain our good habits, and avoid starting bad habits. For example, if you typically wake up early to read and journal, or go for a run a few mornings a week, these good habits will be difficult to maintain during Ramadan. It's also tempting to start some bad habits, such as unhealthy eating patterns (feasting right before bedtime), or watching too much television...these negative habits are a challenge to avoid during the month.
With all the experience Muslims have with adjusting to significant schedule disruptions, I believe they are better prepared to face the shake-up our routines have faced with the Coronavirus lock-down. Nearly every aspect of our routine has changed, and expectations have been altered for our work and family life balance.
Just like during Ramadan, we have opportunities to BEGIN new, positive habits and to END old, negative habits. But we also face the challenges to MAINTAIN old, positive habits, and AVOID adopting new, negative habits.
This season provides both opportunities and challenges, and how you leverage the power of habits will make all the difference.