Life is the sum total of our habits.
In this way, practice can become the habit of stepping outside our habits.
For many of us, our days are filled with routines--the breakfast routine, the commuting routine, the end of day routine. During these times, we may not be paying attention to what we are doing. Think of the times when you have been driving somewhere you have been many times. Often, you can find yourself there with no conscious memory of the trip.
Instead, our minds wander. We construct scenarios in our heads. We may have discussions and even arguments that are completely fabricated. And we miss life itself.
The paradox is that we seem to need a routine to take us out of our routine. To bring us here, to this moment.
Maybe it is the hourly chime of a clock. Maybe it is the ring of a phone. Maybe it is the breath we take before we hit "send" on that email.
Each time we notice what is happening, even if it is only to notice that we are lost in our own stories, is a small victory.