This “all or nothing” mind set pervading the psyche of my peers otherwise referred to as “millennials” is concerning. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve come across online and in my newsfeed that try to convince me to be less predictable, persuade me to be more spontaneous, argue for me to quit my job and to instead, travel the world. They say to take chances now, to follow your heart, and chase these unconventional ideas so effortlessly shown through social media. Well, sorry guys but I’ve got responsibilities, and although that all sounds great online, it’s also way too extreme to become my reality.
I’d consider myself adventurous, I like to book trips to places I probably won’t be able to go when I have children or a family of my own. I’m down for zip lining, scuba diving, snowboarding black diamonds and even going off that really high jump at the end. But I am also a creature of habit and I take great pride in having established a successful routine. So I’m getting kind of sick of reading these articles telling me I’m too predictable and that routines are boring! I have a routine and I have a blog that you are all reading for a reason and that reason is because my life is far from boring! And maybe it’s because I strongly believe in a balance between routine and spontaneity and I know when to ditch the laundry for those last minute concert tickets. Regardless, it’s not healthy to think on such extremity. So here are my top 4 reasons why embracing the routine ways of our life is a positive thing and why it helps to create a healthy balance in our lives:
- Routine is reliable. If you practice routine, chances are you will see the regular weekly results you hope to achieve in your life. Once your routine is established, you can count on it to help you get your stuff done and within the time constraints you know you have. Routines set you up for success. If you have a set routine, chances are you’re doing something that works, otherwise it would have been eliminated from your routine in the first place. Since your routine is reliable, you’ll also easily be able to distinguish how to best balance your free and unplanned time in the most productive ways possible.
- Routine shows your commitment. Routines show your commitment to your chosen lifestyle which means that there must be something about your lifestyle that you enjoy. You’ve coordinated an entire routine around a schedule created by someone else. Whether it’s the classes at the gym, your weekly touch bases with your office team, those open dance classes at the studio, your basketball league’s game schedule or the MBA classes you’ve signed up for. Your routine is catering to a time schedule involving others and you had no say in the decision for when they should take place. Yet you still actively choose to incorporate these things into your routine for the sake of pursuing the things you want in life.
- Routine demonstrates dedication. Your routine is your game plan for accomplishing the daily, weekly and monthly rituals that help keep your world in order. The mundane concepts of making your meals, doing your laundry, cleaning your room and working out are all simple tasks that are almost always guaranteed to get done thanks to your routine. In some rare instances, life throws you lemons and there is not always as much time as you may have anticipated for completing these menial tasks. But since you’re so used to accomplishing them and you’re dedicated to getting them done, no matter what life throws at you, chances are you’ll find a way to still have clean socks to wear because your routine has trained you to be prepared.
- Having a routine proves you’re proactive. Lazy people don’t have routines. They figure it out, or don’t, as they go. Lazy people struggle to do similar things every day that create the basis for a routine because with laziness comes the lack of energy for repetition. A lazy person will get bored far too quickly to complete the tedious tasks associated with our routines. You, with the routine… you’re not lazy, you crush your routine. You get your shit done. And then you welcome it right back when the sun comes up with a smile on your face knowing you’ll do it all over again.
So as pro-routine as I may be, I do believe that there is a balance to all things in life. Balance may be the most difficult thing to master of them all, but it has always been a part of my routine to give it my best effort. I set aside a few hours at the end of my day, after I have accomplished all I hoped to, for the chance to unwind. This part of my day may be a part of my routine, but as far as what I do with this time is unplanned and ends up different every night. Some nights I read, other nights I write…some nights I even do both or none at all. I’ll watch a movie with my family or meet up with old dance friends to drop into a hip hop class. I’ll spend an extra hour at the gym just because I feel like it, or I’ll bake protein muffins for my boyfriend. I’ll blog for a little extra, get lost in a craft store, online window shop, paint my nails, try a new hair style, or take a bubble bath. These things I don’t do every day, but I do end up incorporating them into my routine by leaving them out of it entirely.
Everything can’t be planned, but for the things that must, or just automatically are, find the good in how they set the foundation for your life. Don’t be afraid to do less with your free time. Social media is so quick to make us feel like we’re not doing enough or that we’re missing out if we don’t take an instagram worthy photo on Friday night. It encourages us to always be connected and to constantly feel the need to prove ourselves. But the catch is, it’s our time and we mustn’t forget that. It’s perfectly okay to do nothing, to relax, skip the party, and decompress. If that means indulging in some reality TV, then a Housewives marathon it is! And most importantly, don’t be afraid to try something new with the free time you’ve so carefully planned to have available in your routine. Check out some easy and realistic ideas to achieve the balance below:
Aggressively breaking your routine is never good, but when you’re in desperate need to get back that balance after doing the same thing day in and day out, sometimes a hiatus is necessary. So set some time aside like I do at the end of my day, on a weekend… or for maybe even a whole week. Take a trip, fall in love, go someplace you’ve never been but always wondered about. Change it up and keep the balance of routine and spontaneity alive in your world.
Falling in love is a great way to break routine because now your routine isn’t the only one that matters to you anymore. Finding a home in someone else’s routine can be a beautiful thing, with balance. I’ve finally found that and I’ve never felt more fulfilled by my own agenda and by being incorporated into my boyfriend’s. We can even both break our routines together, by booking a trip or trying something new. Having a routine of your own is great but once you’re invited into another person’s you feel a sense of belonging that can’t be replicated. I recommend that you all fall in love, for the sake of your routine!
For most people, happiness is correlated with the freedom associated with choice. Gaining independence and freedom is not an exercise bound outside the barriers of routine. With enough practice, independence and freedom can be found in any circumstance. It’s all a matter of taking on the right spirit outside the walls of confinement our brains and bodies are naturally pulled into. Call it gravity, or call it negativity, the world as we know it, easily becomes repetitive and as predictable as we could have possibly already imagined.
These concepts of routine makes me think of the show “Friends”. Everyday these people find the time to sit on this couch at a coffee shop. No matter what kind of crazy things are going on in these people’s lives, this couch and coffee shop are the one consistent. And it doesn’t seem so bad, right? A family home, a home of your own, or a couch in a coffee shop can signify our need as humans to settle into routine. It’s where we find comfort and reliability in a world where the only true constant, is change. Embrace the idea of routine. Use it to help push your life forward into newer nooks, unexplored territories and exotic couches in loud coffee shops because without it, we would never find enough comfort to branch out in the first place. Routine is reliable and with it we allow ourselves the freedom to break from it every now and then, knowing we always have it to come home to.