I am the first to admit that I can be on the OCD side of living. I am putting a full disclaimer out there that I am a little biased when it comes to routines but I promise you I have my reasons!
Too often, and I mean too often, I see (or read, or hear) that “routine is just another way of saying you are in a rut” which just makes me want to slap those people with my methodically coded calendar.
For some people, routines just might not work (I am looking at you creatives). But for us untalented mortals, routines can be our lifeblood.
Let me tell you the day I learned just how important routine was to my sanity… It all started in my psychologist’s office (isn’t that how all great stories begin?). After months and months of steady progress and minimal panic attacks, I found myself in a massive backslide with no idea how to get out of it. My psychologist asked me what had changed, and I initially said that nothing had changed and then he asked me to walk him through my day. I painstakingly tried to explain my days and I couldn’t really, they were just a drone of boring nothingness. And he said “hmmm…. that’s weird, I always thought you had such a good daily routine in place.”
Light bulb moment.
A month earlier, I had a big weekend of drinking and nonsense and in typical fashion, my hangover became an excuse to ditch my routine. I failed to wake up early in the morning and adhere to my usual routine because “I am hungover.” I failed to eat a healthy diet because “I am hungover.” And I failed to exercise because “I am hungover.” While a hangover is a perfectly good excuse the morning after, it starts to become a particularly lame excuse sixteen mornings after.
To sum up the long rant, I could have completed avoided a relapse in my mental condition and a severely depressing month if I had just kept to a routine.
But why are routines so important to our happiness?
Habits literally assist our brain so it isn’t overworked. By forming a routine we allow our hormones and neurotransmitters to behave in a certain way which relieves the (metaphorical) pressure from our brain. An increasing amount of research shows that our decision-making is a depletable source. You are literally making your brain fatigued by avoiding routines. And I don’t know about you but when I am fatigued I just want to slump onto the couch.
If you can streamline non-critical decisions into a routine you free your mind up to be energised, creative and MOTIVATED.
Routines allow your brain to hit autopilot on mundane tasks, like your outfit or breakfast and allows your mind to focus on things that really motivate you. Routine is not synonymous with rut!
Don’t believe me? A little bit of a routine-skeptic? Try to implement a routine for 2 weeks and tell me how you feel afterward.
But first, go and do one good deed for the day.
Thank you for visiting,