We all need some sort of routine in our lives. It’s what keeps us on track and keeps our lives in order so we know where we are at. It can be a comfort blanket and a safety net when things go awry because living without structure will cause chaos in the long run.
Routine is important for every living creature: from the very basic feeding and sleeping times of babies to the more complex routines of parents, entrepreneurs or even athletes.
Depending on our boundaries and goals, our routines will vary.
But what happens when your routine starts ruling you?
What happens when your own routine that you put in place no longer serves you and in fact feels like it’s working against you?
Instead of keeping you in order and allowing you to get more shit done certain habits you’ve added to your routing actually end up hindering you.
There are so many personal development books, youtube videos and audios out there offering us a crazy amount of ideas to streamline our days or turn our mornings into miracles ones!
I’ve personally got self-development books falling off my shelves and have tried MANY of their suggestions to try and restore order to my life and to live and work in the most productive and enjoyable way possible. But it became apparent a few years ago that taking on board all of these suggestions and trying to work them into a schedule was actually becoming less of a help and resulting in a hell of a lot more stress!
I’m an addictive person, it doesn’t take me long to get a hook on something and then I totally overdo it!
The gym and its fitness classes have been my crutch for the last 8 years. I remember starting out as a makeup artist and it was bloody tough!
I used to sit on a bar stool in the kitchen, endlessly searching on my laptop for opportunities. I’d be emailing and calling agents (to no avail,) writing out profiles on various film agency sites, scouring the entire internet for jobs, refreshing and reloading job boards every minute, searching for photographers to collaborate with and build my portfolio… the list was endless!
It was hard enough to get work and then when I did it was usually unpaid or expenses only.
As much as I was driven and determined, weeks and weeks of this along with a lot of the actual work I eventually did get being of no help to advance my career, I was running out of steam and my enthusiasm was dwindling.
I figured I had to get up for something in the morning to face the same monotonous internet search and cold outreach day after day and this is when I added a morning spin class to my routine.
Getting up and achieving something, even if it wasn’t work, felt good!
So I added to my spin classes and built up a portfolio of classes – body pump, body attack, body combat and fat burn classes. Sometimes I would stay in the gym for hours and do 3 back to back classes just so I felt like I’d accomplished something and was moving forward.
This is where my healthy addition to my routine become a rather unhealthy addiction.
Eventually, I did start getting decent work in but if it got in the way of my gym classes and I couldn’t go to them I’d feel like shit. My gym routine actually soon and the opposite effect on my wellbeing and began impacting on my thoughts towards other areas of my life.
I’d lost the balance… if I ever had it in the first place!
For the record, balance has never been my strong point, it hasn’t really been in my vocabulary!
8 years down the line and I still struggle with the same damn gym battle only I’ve added a whole host of other things to the checklist that I “need” to do thus putting me in a further state of unrest, overwhelm and pure anxiety at trying to fit it all in!
Again it comes down to CUTTING IT RIGHT BACK!
It’s super hard in today’s world with access to so much information at our fingertips that it’s so easy to fill our heads with a checklist miles long of things we “ought” to be doing.
We easily pick up ideas from others on social media, via blog posts or out and about in the real world and then try and incorporate them into our own already jam-packed schedule.
We should be in the gym, we should be playing sport, we should be taking cookery classes.
We should be setting aside time to work on our personal development, we should be taking care of our families, doing fun things with our friends, finding the person we’re supposed to spend the rest of our lives with.
We should be taking courses, we should be expanding our minds, we should be excelling in our careers, we should be achieving in our work, we should be finding time to cook healthy meals from scratch, we should be earning good money, we should always be going the extra mile for clients.
We should be rising early to make the best start to the day and we should be putting the hours into our business long into the night to succeed.
We should be running bubbles baths, we should be having “me” time, we should be reading novels each night for downtime, we should be getting early nights, we should find time for meditating.
We should do charitable work, we should constantly be bettering ourselves and we should always be available to help others.
We should walk our dogs, we should take our kids to and from school, we should take them to the park, we should spend quality time with them.
We should set an example.
We should “have it together.”
We should be able to push everything on our minds to one side at the drop of a hat and we should be able to pick back up again exactly where we left off at a moment’s notice.
Replace the “we” with an “I” and that’s the gist of my thought process.
In a single day after ambling about online or out and about, I notice what others are doing and feel that I “should” be doing the same to be living a “wholesome and happy life” just like they LOOK like they are living.
You’d think with a to-do list that long it gives you a higher chance to achieve more but tallying up an ambitious list of things to do does nothing but completely paralyse you to actually do nothing from the sheer overwhelm of it all.
I’m not a robot or superhuman. Neither are you.
What I fail to remind myself is that we’re all on our very own journey and have built our own unique lives based around our thoughts, ideals and goals for our future.
We sometimes let the things we see distract us from our own path.
I think there are very few times I stop to look at the bigger picture and make the right decision as to whether adding “this and that” to my routine is really right for ME and MY end goals and if it will compliment MY journey.
This is an area which I REALLY need to work on. Like most of the posts so far it supports my current journey of going back to basics. To find the root, to work out where the hell I actually set out to go in the first place!
My mission for this week is to remember who I am and where I am going and think thrice about taking on that extra task. Is it really going to compliment MY life? Is it in-line with my belief system? Is it really going to help me to get to where I am going?
If it’s a “No” to any of those… then I ain’t giving it the time of day!