Making Changes and Changing Up Routines

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I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

– Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror

For most of us, the older we get the more of a routine we seem to get into. You get up, you get ready, you go to work, you say hi to the same people once you get to the office, you work, you drive home, you ask the same questions to your husband/wife, you eat dinner, you watch TV, you get ready for bed and then you wake up the next day and do it all over again. I think that there’s a direct relationship between the amount of responsibility you have in your life vs. the degree to which your life has become routine. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing — a routine can build discipline, keep you on task and potentially even help you achieve a goal. These, of course, are all good things.

But, falling into routines has its downsides, too. Routines can create boredom, anxiety and probably the worst of all, complacency. Being comfortable in a routine can have it’s benefits, but if you’re not careful letting a routine get the best of you or your relationships can result in some bad, if not devastating situations.

I’m not saying that you need to remove all routine from your life, but I am suggesting that you should take a look at some of the things that have been neglected due to the fact that it’s just how you’ve always done it. Personally, I know that I allow myself time and time again to get into routines that end up losing their value over time. Whenever I notice this happening I try to mix it up a bit so that the played out routine feels more refreshed.

One routine that I’ve felt like I needed to change lately was the fact that I can literally sit in front of my computer all day cranking out emails and other work without ever getting up, moving around the office or going outside for a walk. It was easy for me to get into this routine because there’s always something else that I can be working on and after a while I feel like I’m in the zone and don’t want to stop what I’m doing. Getting more work done is obviously a good thing, but taking care of myself so that I don’t turn into a zombie after staring at my monitor for 8 hours is something that’s become even more important to me. I can tell you one thing that’s for sure — wives don’t like zombies.

To break this particular routine for the past few weeks I’ve been taking taking Frank out for a one mile walk around Burlingame every day around 11am so that I get some time to let my brain rest and Frank gets a little bit of exercise (which is always a good thing for a Pug). It’s been great for both of us and eventually I would like to find one more time towards the end of the day to do the same type of walk again.

One other great thing about the time that I’m taking to walk during the day is that I’ve also been using that time to call friends and family that I haven’t talked to for a long time. In the world of status updates and text messages it’s great to get them on the phone for a few minutes so that we can catch up. Breaking my old routine of sitting in front of the computer all day and making some time for myself to recharge has been an awesome and something that I would highly suggest for all of you other computer geeks out there. Do it, I dare you.

This is a simple example of a routine that I changed for the better and believe me, I could list out a hundred others that I would like to change as well, but it’s hard. To make these changes it takes being intentional and aware of what you’re wanting to change and the desired end result needs to be in order to make the change stick around for good.

So what routine do you feel like changing?

p.s. As I was looking for an image to use for this post I found this awesome blog post from Eoin McKeown that includes a piece of artwork he made called “Routine”. I don’t think that I could have found anything better. Thanks, Eoin.

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