Developing a Routine

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so I knew, once June hit this dream routine I’d created to make room for more was out the window.

This realization hit me as I boarded my flight to Dublin, Ireland. I mean, smack dab in the middle of me attempting to grab a hold of my life, I signed up for an adventure. With. No. Regrets. However, in all honesty, I created the routine back in May but kept putting off the implementation of it. Yes, I had it all written out using the Find Your Routine Worksheet. I was all proud of what I was choosing to protect and release, yet somehow could not get it off the ground and to top it off, I was going across the pond, so in my mind, it was a wrap.

And, ultimately, it was. After Ireland, I could feel my world spiraling. Not necessarily downward or even upward---just all over! There was a lack of structure in my world once July hit and it pretty much continued for the rest of 2017. Yes, if you saw me, there was some semblance of order. I woke up, clocked into work, clocked out, went home, either went out that evening or stayed in and binged Netflix. So yeah, that’s a routine, but by golly it’s not the routine I’d created or dreamed of.

So now, As I write this post, I contemplate what this all looks like in my life this year. What rhythm has my day to day life taken and is it the beat I want to keep dancing to? What routine have I fallen into and is it the routine that makes room for what matters or just a matter of convenience?

Tough questions, requiring real answers. You see, the rhythm my day to day has taken is one of the bare minimum. I go through each day doing what needs to be done to make it to the next day. Honestly, as I look at what my day to day has been for the last few months, it’s flat. It’s not intentional nor actively protecting or releasing anything. It doesn’t make room for what matters. It’s simply a convenient speed, easy to maintain and not costing me anything.

That bothers me, because the dreams I have and the vision I see for my life, requires more from me than simple convenience and bare minimum. I’m learning to live out this tension of being where I am and knowing where I will be or where I desire to be. I realize developing a rhythm and routine helps bring balance to the tension.

Balance. A word often foreign to me. See, I’m a person of extremes. I realize this EVERY day. Give me an inch and I’ll take you cross the country and back. Give me an ant hill and I’ll return with every mountain range in the world. That’s how EXTREME I can get sometimes. So, when I notice something I don’t like or want to change, I take really huge steps towards changing it not realizing there’s something really beautiful about taking small steps and unpacking that space. Rhythm and routine help with taking small steps.

Like I shared in last week’s post, having a routine is more than just a schedule of events. I believe the routine we create is closely linked to the culture we want to cultivate in our lives. A routine is about making space for you to get your mind, heart, soul, and body right. A routine is about making room for what matters and protecting it. A routine doesn’t have to be this deep, intricate thing. Like I shared, making a cup of coffee in the morning is something I deeply enjoy and has always been apart of my routine. It’s simple and an everyday thing for most people. But when I make a cup coffee in the morning, I do it before everyone else is awake and for those 5-7 minutes of boiling water, grinding coffee beans, and warmed up cream, it’s just me, the sun rising, and thoughts. It’s quiet and still and I get to focus on the task in front of me. Nothing deep, but its precious to me and honestly a time I fiercely protect.

A routine is about doing for you what needs to be done so you can fully show up wherever you are. So, how do we go about this?  I’ll be honest, I’m figuring it out too. But, I believe the first step is assessing what rhythm your day to day has taken and the routine your life has fallen into. Then, it’s deciding whether it’s something that’s breathing life into you thus breathing life into your dreams, or if it’s just a road of convenience making no real impact. From there, I’d encourage you to check out the FYR Worksheet and dream up what rhythm and routine you want for your life.

When you download it, you’ll see that the first question is: what is my word/phrase for the year? I really want you to take some time think about this. This is the word or phrase you want to pursue or see emulated in your life. It’s your why for the year. For me, I’ve been feeling strongly the word FULL. This year I want to live FULLY taking new risks and going on adventures. I want this year to be full of hope, love, connection, and dreams. I want it brimming. Not necessarily busy or overloaded---no---quite the opposite. I want to find fullness in the slow, intentional spaces. Usually I break my word down into an acronym, but I haven’t done that yet and I may not but right now that’s kind of where I’m heading. With this in mind, I approach developing my routine differently. Now, it’s about figuring out how to protect this why and how to make room for living fully. Make sense?

The biggest challenge, after all that writing and dreaming, is doing it. It’s taking what you’ve created on paper and making it your reality. This, my friends, will take time and honestly that’s how I would approach this step. Start with one day and go from there. At least that’s what I’m doing. I’m realizing that there will be some sacrifice involved. So, it may mean going to bed earlier or waking up earlier. It may mean cutting the Netflix binge fest short or breaking away from the absentminded social media scroll. It may be saying no to that happy hour hang or putting the phone on DND for a couple hours. Whatever it may be, it’s making the decision to choose which matters more: creating a routine in your life that gives room for what matters, or filling your space with unnecessary habits that only clouds your vision?

What will you decide?


TWLDiscover Challenge #1

Download and complete the Find Your Routine Worksheet and share on social media with the hashtag #TWLDiscover your word/phrase is for the year and why it's your word/phrase!

Danae Carson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of This Wondrous Life. With a passion for creativity, dreams, and community you will find in the content she creates an eagerness for others to be awaken to their dreams and creativity. When she isn't busy running This Wondrous Life, Danae can be found working a 9-5 in Washington, D.C. and when she's not there, she can be found making areopress coffee at home, brainstorming and dreaming up how to best live present with those around her. Danae resides in the suburbs of Maryland. To learn more about her and This Wondrous Life, you can follow the journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!