Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
English habit vocabulary native

Are you a creature of habit or do you like to mix things up frequently?

This is one of those phrases in English that may be a bit confusing.

There can be some really great aspects to repetition, and some that you may perceive as negative.

We’re going to look at the idea of repetition, how it can offer some comfort, the potential drawbacks, and how to talk about it in conversation.

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The Various Aspects of Repeating Something

You might not think of what it means to you to repeat certain experiences in your life.

You may have been conditioned to believe that repetition can be a bad thing, but there are some really great aspects to this.

There’s a really interesting article about this topic entitled “The Unexpected Joy of Repeat Experiences: Novelty Is Overrated” by Leah Fessler on November 7, 2019.

The article talks about how people are seen as exciting when they do new and different things.

It is discussed that Instagram specifically always shows people doing the most exciting things.

The author mentions that people may not feel good about doing things repetitively, such as ordering the same food over and over.

It is the theme of the article that repetition in general is bad and people have a bad perception of this.

People want to be exciting, adventurous, and switch things up–and therefore the idea of repetition can be boring to many.

The concept of “hedonic adaptation” is introduced, which means that you can be very happy about something for awhile but then you go back to where you were.

You can also be very unhappy and then go back for some comfort.

This is also referred to as the “hedonic treadmill” and it means that you may want new and interesting things, but you often end up exactly where you were.

So this article and some of the beliefs around it will tell you that repetition is a bad thing, but you may have a very different point of view on that.

If you are like most people then repetition has its place and it may even offer you comfort and stability at certain times in your life.

Repetition Has Its Place

There are so many thoughts on repetition, and you probably have your own opinions on it.

The article says that we shouldn’t undermine repetitiveness, and that’s something to take into consideration.

There are times when repetition can be a really great thing, and you want to think these through.

There are instances where being repetitive in our thoughts or actions may actually be beneficial.

  • Children tend to be joyful about repetition: If you consider it, kids love repetition in some ways. They can watch the same Disney movie over and over. They can eat the very same thing for breakfast or lunch every single day. They can be creatures of habit, which means that the repetitive behaviors occur frequently.
  • You repeat things that you love doing: These are the things that bring you joy or are comforting to you. It may be watching reruns of a favorite TV show, or it may be eating the same thing for breakfast each morning. It may be that you like traveling to the same spot each year, or it may be that you have a certain hobby that you enjoy doing. Whatever that favorite thing is, that brings you comfort and joy and so you want to keep doing it again and again.
  • If you are trying to learn something: This applies to learning English, as well as so many other things too. You want to find the most comfortable way of studying or practicing things, and repetition is often a big part of this. The words or content of what you are learning or practicing will change, and so some stability may be good. Find a method that you enjoy and can repeat, as this will help you to make it enjoyable and effective.

There are times when repetition can be a really great thing.

These instances are when you need to see the positive merit in repetition.

If you think of it as it applies to learning English, then you can start to see how repetition has a place in your life.

This simple act of repeating things can help you to improve and build new skills in an enjoyable way.

Talking About Repetition

There are times when you may wish to talk about repetition.

If you think of something like your workday for example, you may find that repetition to be mundane or even boring.

However if you have some instability in your life, then you may crave the comfort that repetition can offer.

There are a couple of phrases that talk about repetition that may be useful for you to use in conversations.

  • Comfortable as an old shoe: This is a visual type of phrase because you can almost picture the old shoe that you love. If you enjoy wearing something or you know that something in your life is comfortable, then you may refer to them as being comfortable as an old shoe.
  • Creature of habit: You may be somebody who likes to do the same thing over and over. You may crave routine or find comfort in repeating the same habits or behaviors. If you are comfortable in that repetition then you may refer to yourself as a creature of habit.
  • Same old, same old: This tends to be a bit more negative in nature. It basically means that you are doing the same old thing over and over. It casts repetition in a negative light or that you may be a bit bored. It can be used if somebody asks you how things are going and you haven’t had any major life changes.

Repetition is something that you will experience at some point in time, and knowing how to talk about it can be helpful.


There are so many thoughts on repetition, and you likely have your own.

This is a part of life, and sometimes it can be positive and others times it can be negative.

Try to think about areas of your life where you practice repetition, and how it makes you feel.

Since it is a part of life, knowing how to think about it and talk about it conversation can be really helpful and may lead to making connections.

If you are taking IELTS, talking about your habits is a great skill for the Speaking Test. Join 3 Keys IELTS Online Course to find out when to use these phrases.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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