Routines – they’re neither inherently good nor bad; it’s all about the context and how you apply them to your everyday life.
If you’re feeling like your routines are driving you crazy or trapping you in a never-ending cycle, it might be time to break free from them – at least temporarily.
However, if you feel like your life lacks structure and you are having trouble accomplishing your goals and objectives, routines could be precisely what you need.
So, what’s the deal with routines? Why are they so important, yet sometimes they feel so suffocating?
Imagine you’re stuck in a rut, doing the same things day in and day out. This is where a change of scenery can work wonders.
Consider taking a vacation – it’s a fantastic way to hit the reset button on your everyday life. Traveling to new places can lead to exciting encounters, fresh perspectives, and even unexpected opportunities. A vacation can be just for a few days – a long weekend, for instance, or it can be for a longer period – a week or more.
How many stories have you heard of people going on vacation, only to fall head over heels in love with the destination? Something about breaking out of the “usual routine” sparks creativity and gives you the opportunity to explore a new point of view. Your surroundings can inspire you in many ways – visually, emotionally, and even physically,
Take care, though – even in an enchanting new place, what you do can eventually become routine if you let it.
Here’s the thing about routines: they can keep life organized, but taken to an extreme, they can also make it very predictable. So, how can you infuse some excitement into your life?
One approach is to step out of your comfort zone and join a club or group that you’d never consider under normal circumstances.
For instance, if you’ve never explored a particular craft or other creative activity, why not join a local club where you can immerse yourself in it?
If music strikes a chord with you, join a musical group or take a class focusing on a specific instrument or process you’re interested in – perhaps you could learn to play an instrument, review a past activity you enjoyed as a child, or even showcase your singing talents.
The key is to venture into uncharted territory, to try something different from your usual routine.
Now, let’s flip the script. What if your life feels like a bit of a freefall without structure? How can routines come to your rescue?
Sometimes, introducing a bit of routine can be as simple as creating a to-do list. Having a written list of your priorities can help sharpen your focus and may even inspire you to create a full “project plan” to accomplish your goal. Having a little structure at the beginning can help to set the tone for future productivity and positive results.
If you’re not accustomed to routines, it might be helpful to find an accountability partner – someone who can help you stay on track. Think about who in your life might be working toward a goal of their own, and who might appreciate someone to help them along. You can combine your efforts to help each other get and stay on track. You don’t have to have the same goal, but similar timelines are helpful.
Accountability partnerships are fantastic for keeping each other motivated and focused on achieving your respective goals. Set up times to keep each other up-to-date – weekly, perhaps.
But here’s where the magic often happens: finding the perfect balance between routine and spontaneity.
Many people discover that having a mix of routine and spontaneous moments works wonders for them.
Those spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures help to break the monotony and prevents you from falling into a rut.
However, when it’s time to return to a familiar routine after a break, it brings a sense of order back into your life and may even feel comforting.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s certainly worth a try. Give it some time before deciding if it works for you or not.
In the end, it all boils down to you, and your perfectly imperfect human life. Only you can determine if you need to embrace routines, break away from them, or create a harmonious balance between the unexpected and the routine.
Remember that life is an ever-evolving journey, and what works today might need adjustments tomorrow. Be open to change and don’t hesitate to explore the beautiful dance between routines and spontaneity in your life. Start small by building little unexpected changes and interludes into your life, and then expand your sense of spontaneity as you raise your comfort level.
Look for opportunities to break out of your routine – change up the regular route of your commute, have a different meal for lunch or dinner, visit a museum exhibit on the weekend, or pick up a book from an author you’ve never read, but whose subjects interest you.
You can build small elements of spontaneity into your life on a bi-weekly basis to get started, and then add others as time, budget and the positive results start to add up. You can break the hold that “routine” has over your life on your terms, at your own pace. You’ve got this!
Journal Prompts to Help You Break Out of Old Routines
Use one or more of these prompts to start or deepen your personal journaling practice – give yourself time to think about what the prompt brings up for you and explore your feelings on paper. If you need a journal, click HERE to see our available journals.
- How do your current routines make you feel? Describe your emotions – are they more positive, or negative?
- Share a memorable experience from a vacation or other change of scenery that brought a positive change to your attitude, your outlook, or your life.
- List three clubs or groups you’d like to join to explore new interests – they could be online or in-person.
- Reflect on the impact of introducing a daily to-do list in your life, and if you already use one, how could you make it work better for you?
- Write about a time when you successfully struck a balance between routine and spontaneity.