Invest in Yourself: Rebuilding Your Routine
I’m currently reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’ve only read the introduction and the first few pages of the first section, but I am captivated. It’s content-rich and very, VERY scientific, but in summary, the book focuses on explaining how we can create new habits. It explores the science behind it---the why and how.
I’m excited to dig into over the next few months, but it has encouraged this post. Maybe last year you journeyed with me in building a rhythm and routine. I began this journey in 2017, but really leaned into this concept all of 2018. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, I would this is a great place to start, followed up by this post.
As 2019 has begun, I do have a new perspective on rhythms and routines. For some understanding, a rhythm is the feel and flow of your daily life and a routine is the structure of intentional habits and investments that make room for what matters, helps you shift how you approach and experience each day, and ultimately feeds your soul.
Maybe your rhythm is busy and feels hectic like you’re grasping for time and constantly slips through your fingers. You are always going somewhere doing something and there feels like there isn’t enough to around, thus your routine doesn’t even exist. Or, maybe your rhythm is stagnant and feels empty. Your days seem to drag on with no movement or fulfillment whether in pursuing your dreams, living intentionally, etc, so there’s no motivation to even have a routine. I get that. I feel that. I’ve been there.
Something I learned from being intentional with rhythms and routines last year is that I do have a say. Sure, there are so many things in the day to day we have no control over. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I do have a say on how I approach my day—how I start and finish mentally and emotionally. I have found that when I am consistent with my daily routines, I experienced each day with a more positive perspective. Were there hard days? Yes. Did I always choose best? No. But, whenever I missed my routine, because life happened, I could feel it.
As for it changing? Well, when I first got into it, I was convinced that whatever I set as my routine in January would be the same in December. No suspense here, I was wrong. It completely changed. The timing, the habits and things I did. I remember going through the first quarter of last year and it was straight forward, then work got extra busy and I watched my routine morph. It wasn’t bad, it just looked different.
So, in this New Year, I want to embrace that more. The truth that your rhythm and routine are fluid and that’s fine, so long as the core of it remains consistent.
Well what’s the core Danae? I believe the core of a rhythm and routine is grounded in three main things: 1) developing healthy and intentional habits, 2) shifting how your see and experience the mundane, and 3) feeding your soul.
These are three main pillars to lean on when thinking about a daily routine. Now, if you have a routine or never created one, here’s what I want to share with you in redefining and rebuilding your routine:
Define the Core of Your Rhythm and Routine
How do you want to feel at the beginning and end of each day? How do you want your day to day to flow overall? Look back at the three pillars of a routine. What some things you can do daily that feed positive habits, healthy perspective, and fill you up?
Assess what and how you want to change your day to day. If it’s busy, how can you slow down? If it feels stuck, what can you do to “liven” it up? If it is steady and consistent, what’s can grow more deeply and intently? If you work a traditional 9 to 5 like me, most of your day is decided for you. Even then, my goal rhythm for my day to day is slow, intentional, and present. I may not have control over what 8 am to 4 pm looks like, but I do have say over the few hours before I get to work and the hours after. And for me, if those few hours in the morning and in the evening can move slowly, intentionally, and with me fully present that’s enough. Whichever it is, define what you desire the flow each day to be like for 2019.
Keep it Simple
This was something I struggled with when I first got into having a daily routine. For most of 2018, I had way too many “things” that were a part of my routine. I’d also tied myself to a specific time frame, that if I saw it coming up or passing, I would rush to get the routine done. Do note that that is the absolute opposite of the purpose of a routine.
As I brainstormed my routine for 2019, I simplified it. Before it consisted of at least 4-5 things. Now, it consists of 2-3 core things that feed into my desired daily goal of living slow, intentionally, and present.
Whatever habits or investments you structure your routine around, always—always keep it simple, doable, and flexible. Remember, the goal isn’t to do a bunch of stuff or have a strict schedule, it’s to invest in healthy and intentional habits, feed your soul, and daily shift how you approach each day.
Carve out the Time.
This is important. It’s great to have vision for what you want each day to feel like and to have a structure written out, but what about the time? Time is our most expensive commodity and the one we squander daily.
Determine how much you want to commit to a daily routine and make room for it in your schedule. Like I said, we all live different lives with different commitments and responsibilities, so the length and structure of it all will look different that’s BEAUTIFUL. Do what fits for you life. Put it in your calendar; set a reminder. Whatever you do, be intentional about making it an active part of your world.
Because a daily routine matters so much to me, I start my day extra early and try to slow down my evenings as early as possible. Since I’ve been doing this awhile, I’ve been able to gauge how long each routine takes which helps in finding the pockets of time to commit to it.
At the end of the day, my daily routines are flexible and simple enough that if they are shorter than normal, I don’t feel cheated and if they are longer than normal I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.
Whatever your goal, dream, or intentions are for this year, I hope you find the joy in building a routine. Maybe it is something you’ve never considered, or you’ve been discouraged in doing, know that even if it is just one thing you do every morning and night to feed your soul, slow down, and be present, do it. It counts. Start small and build from there. Know that as you build a routine, create new habits, you make room for what matters. You ultimately invest in your goal, dreams, and intentions.
Do you have already have a daily routine? If so, what’s one thing that’s a part of it? If you don’t have a routine, what’s keeping you from having one?