“The less routine the more life.” – Amos Bronson Alcott
“I travel a lot and I hate having my life interrupted by routine!” – Caskie Stinnett
When should you put a wrench in your routine – the routine that ultimately creates your lifestyle? The answer is simple – all the time and more than once. Every person’s routine is a bit different, but the importance of stepping outside our cycle of common activities is important to personal growth and intellectual development.
You essentially have two types of routine oriented lifestyles – you may epitomize one or you may fall somewhere in between.
The Serious Routine Lifestyle
I know people on both ends of the spectrum. Some that have strict routines and feel uncomfortable any time it is disrupted. Often times it will prohibit people from partaking in certain activities because they are unwilling to stray from their routine and their intended plan for that day.
The Wanderer Routine Lifestyle
I also know some people that don’t quite have a routine. They will do anything at the drop of a hat and usually not think twice about committing a night or a day to something completely unplanned or new to them.
Now, I’m not saying one is better than the other – and that one will lead to success over another. What I am saying, is that over the course of time we develop behaviors that translate into specific patterns. Naturally, what happens is that we create metaphorical fences around our worlds both physically and mentally. To grow and develop, stepping over those naturally created boundaries is often the catalyst to success and achieving greatness.
So How Do You ‘Break’ Your Lifestyle?
First, you must accurately understand the composition of your identity. I’ll use myself as an example. For the longest time, I’d smoke cigarettes while spending time out at bars or whenever I would casually drink. But if you asked me whether or not I was a smoker, or if I smoked – I’d tell you NO. I’m not a smoker! I wanted the identity of someone that wasn’t a smoker, but my actions weren’t consistent with my self-proclaimed identity. Based on your habits that form your routines, you may have to take mental inventory by wading into the waters of what you have pushed under the rug, or prefer not to face because you know it’s not who you truly want to be.
After realizing that I don’t want all the negative things that smoking brought along with it – I realized that it takes more than one time of doing or not doing something to make that part of who you are. Now, it has been several months since I’ve had a cigarette and now I can easily turn one down without thinking twice about it. So I didn’t just cross hypothetical boundary once or twice, I did it repeatedly over the course of months.
Back to Your Routine and Your Lifestyle
So instead of turning down smoking just once, I’ve done it time after time and it’s shifted my thinking about it and it’s given me some perspective. Because I did it repeatedly, I was able to learn from it and apply that type of thinking to other areas of my life.
So, when you put the wrench in your routine, don’t do it just once. Try it for a week, or try it for a month. Getting in good physical shape and working out is a good example. If you are in terrible shape, your first workout isn’t going to be pretty and your body may feel very sore over the course of the next couple days. But, workout for a week, then a month, then two months – then see how your attitude, your body, and your perspective has changed about working out.
Leverage What You’ve Learned
So you’ve worked out for a couple months – isn’t it amazing how you have changed, not only physically, but mentally as well?
Whether you are a Serious Routiner or if you are a Wanderer – put some thought into your particular lifestyle and the choices you make. Are all of your actions similar to that of the day before, the week before, the year before?
If you are Serious Routine guy (or gal!) – have you stepped out of your routine to spark your thoughts and your perspective? Have you introduced anything new into your life recently? Bust up that routine and you’ll undoubtedly be glad you did!
If you are Wanderer gal (or guy) – try building in some structure into your life. Don’t just make decisions on a whim all the time. Get off of other peoples’ agendas. I know some wanderers myself – and they tend to struggle with gaining traction on their careers, or getting healthy, or staying organized, etc. So spend a week and bust through a book. Take a 15-minute walk every day for not just a couple days – do it for a month. Sometimes slowing down our lives can offer up some great time to reflect and refocus.
The Bottom line
It’s nearly impossible to avoid creating these hypothetical fences – because let’s face it, life is busy and life can get hectic. Sometimes we juggle too many things at once and we have little time to step away from everything. When this happens, it’s time to bust that routine.
Once you bust up the routine, you will naturally gain perspective and be more conscious of either your Serious Routine or your Wanderer lifestyle – or wherever you stand in the midst of those two.
Remember, a greater accumulation of diverse life experiences amounts to greater perspective and ultimately the allowance for your ideal lifestyle to surface.
Michael Weaver is a freelance writer and the founder of www.findinspirationtoday.com