People are not robots or computers, but sometimes it may feel that way. Increasingly more automation continues to take over our world. Whether you believe it to be a good or bad thing, won’t change the fact that more of it is coming. And it is not only affecting our workplace, technology and automation are also taking over in our personal lives.

A generation ago we thought the remote control for our TV was technology that could not be outdone. And now we have small units that sit in our homes and take commands from us. They make calls for us, remind us to do things, and can even get our meals delivered for us. And then there are the robotic vacuums, with laser driven mapping technology, that are taking over cleaning chores in our homes and offices.

All this technology must be programmed and told how, and where, to perform its task. Once it is programmed to do things a certain way, it repeats those same tasks, in the same way, until it is programmed differently. If this expensive technology receives the wrong programming or the wrong instructions, it will not perform the way we expect it too. If we programmed into the vacuum to clean the kitchen, we would not expect it to be cleaning the bedrooms.

So, what does this have to do with people? I have always said that people are not robots or computers, and should not be treated that way, and for the most part, that is still true. However, people are also “programmed” to do things a certain way, and may not even realize it. And just like the programmable technology, if we are programmed to do it the wrong way, we will also get an undesirable result.

We have all been “programmed” to subconsciously do hundreds of activities throughout our day. It is a complicated process to understand, but the bottom line is, actions that are repeated, become habits, and those habits turn into behaviors.  The scary part is that those habits and behaviors, then automatically get repeated over and over, without us even thinking about them.

Sounds a little bit like the programmable technology we talked about earlier, doesn’t it? The good news is, we can change our habits and behaviors. The bad news is, it will be much easier to reprogram a robot than it will be to change a person’s habits. Science tells us that it takes 18 to 254 days to develop, or change, a habit. Habits can be very hard to change, but the rewards are great. Change your habits, change your future.