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The Hamster Wheel

Blog | Life and Leadership   |   December 27, 2016

by Janina Aritao

Have you ever felt like you hit a road block? I’d like to share a reflection exercise I do once in a while. I call it the hamster wheel exercise. Because sometimes I feel like I have all the resources to move forward but am not getting anywhere. Just like a hamster in a wheel.

When a new year is about to begin the tendency is to have a new list of resolutions, things to do, goals and dreams.

But for many like myself, I find it refreshing to instead declutter, simplify, and get rid of bad habits, misconceptions and start fresh with a clean heart and mind.

How to do the hamster wheel exercise:

List top 3 things that have been a hindrance to you or bad habits to get rid of and why:

For example:

1. Impulsive spending (causes me to go overbudget and not have enough money for the things I need)

2. Being afraid of what people think (Causes me to do things I don’t really want to do, or make commitments that I’m not happy to do)

3. Staying up too late watching Netflix (I lack sleep and am not able to give my best at work)

Think about the ideal outcome if you get rid of these things:

1. My savings account will increase rather than decrease. I will have no financial stress.

2. I’ll be free to do things I want, and not out of compulsion. I won’t be controlled by others.

3. I’ll be healthier and more energized.

Get excited about the changes you will be able to initiate in your life when the bad habits are broken.

Think of three things you can do that will oppose the bad habits or hindrances you mentioned:

1. To counter excess spending:

Instead of buying new things, look through the stuff in your house and refurbish old things. E.g. dyeing an old pair of jeans, or cleaning out dusty stuff. Make a throwpillow out of old clothes.

2. To battle fear of what people think;

Do something you want to do that is completely free of other peoples’ influence. E.g. Go ice-skating and don’t care about people watching.

3. To avoid sleeping late:

On weekdays, choose some good movies on Netflix instead of a TV series that you can’t stop watching. Save the TV series for weekends.

Of course the last step is to actually do those three things.

I find that even habits I had since a little kid were broken simply by looking at the problem in the eye, committing to break it and, having the courage to take the challenge, and enjoying the outcome.

It’s a simple mathematical formula. If you commit to doing good, healthy, helpful things, you will find that enjoyable results follow. When you face addictions and commit to let go, freedom will follow. When you have the discipline to stick to wise principles, you will find that fruitfulness and abundance are not far behind.


Janina Aritao is a Senior Consultant at ROHEI. She loves to draw alphabets.

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