Routines – Love ’em or Hate ’em?

January 4th, 2011 by Patty Bear

Some people love the comfort and predictability of routines and resist anything new.  Others vigorously fight routine because it feels like a loss of freedom.

Routines can provide comfort, reduce anxiety and uncertainty, reduce costs, save time, save money, improve communication, make room for creativity, and provide freedom….


Routines can trap you, cause stagnation, reduce creativity, impede communication, and suck the life out of your relationships.

So, are routines good or bad?  How do you know the difference?  A routine is just a system you have adopted.  If it’s serving you, it’s probably one that you created consciously to free up your time, your energy, or your creativity…. it’s current and healthy.

A routine that holds you back is often one that you picked up unconsciously by force of habit or upbringing and that you’ve never really thought much about.  Or it could just be out of date.  It served your life at a different time and you just haven’t thought much about it lately, or gotten around to dumping it.

Routine as a time management tool frees up your time and your attention –

Is routine boring?  Sure that’s the whole point.  It doesn’t require lots of energy that you don’t have or energy that could be used for breaking into new territory or doing something fun.

Routine to jazz up your relationships –
Want a better relationship with your beloved?  Here’s a simple routine to test out.  Everyday silently notice three things to appreciate about him/her. (There’s a reason for the silent noticing but that’s for another newsletter).  What does he/she do that is valuable, that you admire, or that adds something to the world?  And routine means more than once- make it a habit.  Notice what happens.

Routine to bring you freedom and serve your bigger goals – ,
You may be avoiding your exercise routine because you “don’t have time” but that’s not really true- it’s just not a priority at the moment.  What if instead of thinking that you “should” do it because it’s good for you, you scaled it back, but made it repetitive so that it’s soothing for you?  For the moment, forget about a full blown exercise program and just build a small repetitive movement habit that soothes you.  Walk around the block every morning, stretch in yoga like postures, dance to your favorite song. Get moving without “exercise”.

It’s a New Year.  Could breaking out of a routine have value for you?  Could creating a routine actually bring you more freedom?

Think of the possibilities!

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