Our life coach columnist talks about routines — the ones that bring stability and comfort, and those that hold you back and cause ruts on the path to success. Read on as she offers helpful advice.
I go for a long bike ride with my husband every Sunday, weather permitting. At this point in the season, we’re now up to about 65 miles each time we ride. We don’t always leave at the same time, but we do follow the same route on the bike trail each week. When we get past the turn-off and to the overhead pass, I always search for Tennis Man.
Every week on our route, there’s a man that volleys against a concrete wall. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I search for Tennis Man as soon as I turn the curve. No matter the time, he never lets me down. He must be practicing for hours. Last week, I noticed that he started waving to us as we approached. He yelled hello and commented on how long we had been seeing each other.
I hadn’t realized that he looked for us as much as we look for him. Passing Tennis Man had become one of the things that we counted on. We knew that once we passed him, we had a certain many miles to go to get to the next landmark.
Seeing him always gave me a sense of comfort— something that I could count on. In fact, when Tennis Man was missing, things just didn’t seem right. Seeing Tennis Man had definitely become a part of our weekly routine.
That’s exactly the role that having routines can play in your life. They become something that you count on, something that actually gives you a sense of comfort. In fact, when you change that routine, you can feel like something important is missing.
The problem is that often we carry routines in our work and private life beyond their expiration date. What do I mean by that? I am referring to those routines that are mainstays in your lives, but no longer serve any sort of purpose. You simply continue to do them because you always did them. You keep them because they give you continuity in your life.
On top of that, having them makes you feel good. However, they can sometimes hold us back from our goals and finding success.
Maybe you have a routine of getting up in the morning and sitting in front of the computer to mindlessly check your social media. Maybe you have a routine of going out with the same group of friends every Saturday night. Maybe one of your routines is coming home and turning on the television after a long day of work. Or maybe, your routine is eating the same lunch at your desk every single day at work.
Some of your daily routines have been a part of your life forever and you don’t give much thought to changing them. The point is that some of your routines are positive actions in your life and move you toward success.
However, some of your routines stand in the way of you achieving the very goals you are working toward. That knowledge doesn’t occur to you on a daily basis but if you took a birds eye view of your life, that is what you might see. I am asking you to take that step back, and do an inventory of your daily life.
Make a list of what your typical day consists of— work and play, and honestly decide whether your routines are pushing you closer or farther from your goals. Make sure that you daily actions align with what you strive to achieve in life.