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Deconstruction and Reconstruction

Before the start of each year, I take a few weeks in December to plan what my focus should be for the next year and what I want to achieve in the next year. And I start the first day of the year equipped with this list of goals and a plan to achieve them.

As the year progresses, new realities crop up, new distractions get in the way, new perspectives and learnings unravel. All this adds on to what the original plan and goals was like lego blocks.

If you've played with lego blocks, you'll know that you can't keep adding more blocks on top infinitely. The structure is going to either lose shape and simply become a mass of random blocks, one on top of another, or they collapse under their own weight.

If we don't take the time to prune, the same happens with our lives.

So, I have the yearly cycle of deconstruction and reconstruction.

At the end of the year (and often more frequently than that for specific projects), I look back to see how things are adding up and make a decision on whether to renew something for another year or not. 

I have moved away from auto-renewal. 

To give you context of what I mean by this, let's take the example of reading books. A few years ago, I had a goal of reading a book a week. For two years, I did this and ended up reading over a hundred books. However, this goal didn't mean much to me in the next year. So, I dropped it. It doesn't mean that I don't read books anymore. Of course, I do. But the focus isn't on reading a book a week. The reading habit and it's benefits are already well ingrained. Instead, now I read as a means to a different end - either to be entertained (less often) or to learn new perspectives and be exposed to new ideas (more often).

Unless we deconstruct and reconstruct our habits at regular intervals, they continue to serve a purpose that was initially relevant and important, but isn't anymore.

I've also done this with my daily habits for a long time now. Busywork is essentially work that seemed important once upon a time and we inculcated it into our routines and then it got out of hand but we didn't modify the habit. Like email. When we were getting ten emails a day, it took thirty minutes to read and answer all email as they came in and it wasn't much of a distraction to other things we needed to get done. So, it was sensible to build a habit of immediately responding to incoming emails and always maintaining inbox zero. But, then they grew to hundred a day and we continued to have the same habit. It now takes us half our workdays to get through email and with a new one coming our way every few minutes, there's pretty much nothing else that we get done. 

We don't have to wait till it gets out of hand like this to reconstruct the habit to a more suitable one. But unless we deconstruct, we won't get around to it. 

We'll just boil like the frog.

But more recently, I've been exploring the idea of applying this to my values, my principles, my desires. In essence, the things that are at the core of me and make me who I am. 

Of course, some of these are timeless (like the desire to always be learning), and will undoubtedly be renewed. But it's now a conscious choice. And at the same time, there are older ideas and perspectives that need updating and taking a conscious look at them will give us that chance to update them.

Deconstruction and reconstruction is at the heart of all life (and at the heart of all inanimate matter). That's the laws of Physics and Chemistry that govern the Universe. 

The parallels should be ruling our minds and our habits.

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