Having structure and routine in your everyday life helps you to get things done, and to achieve your goals. Sometimes however, you may feel that the mundanity of your existence is grinding you down. Do you ever ask yourself, “Is this all there is?” or “Is this my life every day until I retire?”
It’s true that consistency gives meaning to your life. You know what you’re supposed to be doing and when. It can get to the stage however, when your schedule feels like it rules you, and you have ceased to find the magic in life. When you feel under pressure, it is time to stop and be kind to yourself. Take more self-care. How do you do this? It’s quite simple really. You break up your daily routine and you make every single day different in some way.
Notice your habits and do something different. Wear your watch on the wrong wrist, go to work a different way, eat something entirely new that you’ve never tried, go for a drink with someone different, watch a TV programme you would never normally watch, use a new shower gel, perfume or aftershave.
Give someone else responsibility for something. Whether this is giving part of your work to someone else, or asking a partner or child to shop and make the dinner, why not try it?
Try something entirely new. You may be put off doing something new because you are frightened of making a mistake or failing, but this is entirely the point of life. When we feel safe, we don’t learn anything new. By trying and failing we are opening our lives and ourselves to new possibilities. Experiment and explore and embrace failure, because if you are always successful you are not seeing life from every angle and you are not a whole person. You don’t have to try to conquer Everest, you could try saving it instead. Or challenge yourself to do one brand new thing every day no matter how small.
Seek out new places. The opening credits of Star Trek tell us to, “explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before,” and this is a great mantra when it comes to living life. You don’t have to journey into the wilds of Borneo, or immerse yourself in Mayan culture (although that would be fabulous!) it could just mean visiting a new coffee shop, seeking out independent shops in the back streets, reading a new author or listening to music you have bought, just because you like the cover. Or try speaking to someone you don’t know. Find out more about new people and broaden your experiences.
Take stock of your bad habits. Is there anything you do that wastes time or energy or money? If you can identify them, try and eliminate them from your routine and puts something else in its place. For example, if you always buy an expensive coffee on the way to work, make yourself a flask and use the money saved to buy a magazine that you wouldn’t normally read. Broaden your horizons through the written word.
Decide on a ‘fresh start’. For some reason, research suggests that you are more likely to be successful when it comes to exercise or dieting when you convince yourself you are having a ‘fresh start’, so start a new regime at the beginning of the year, the month or the week.
Observe the world around you. Have you ever really watched your neighbourhood? Do you know what your colleagues at work do? Try it and see what avenues of life this takes you down.
Network. If you want to get ahead with your career, network upwards. If you want to get ahead in life, network with everyone.
Make time for you. If you feel that your life is routine and humdrum it may just be that you need a little time for yourself. What is it that you like to do that helps you relax? A gentle walk? A hot bath? Some time curled up on the sofa with a pot of tea and a good book? Try to incorporate 30 minutes doing one thing that you love to do every day, and life will not feel so routine.
Be nice. Do something nice for one person every day and it will help you feel that your life has meaning. It can be as simple as holding a door open, or hugging a friend.
Sometimes the best of life, new energy, and increased creativity can be found outside of your usual routine. Keep your routines largely in place because they will make your life work for you, but find ways to break them too. You never know when breaking your routine will help to unlock great new ideas, both personally and professionally, and create space for new ideas and a more receptive and positive outlook.
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