Have Routines, Not Rut-ines

Today was one of those days where everything is pretty good, but something just felt off. I had no reason to feel off, I just did. Have you ever felt that way before? Did you ever figure out what was causing you to feel off? I feel like it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we all have experienced it, and I have experienced it plenty of times. In the past I haven’t known what caused it or what to do about it, but I’m getting better at reviewing my day and learning.

Do you want to know the one thing that has caused more “meh” days in my life than anything else? For me, personally, these days come when I don’t stick to my morning routine. They are the days when I hit snooze on my alarm 4 times and get up an hour after I was planning to. They are the days when I roll out of bed and the first thing I do is spend 30+ minutes on social media, not posting or contributing value, but scrolling with no purpose. I’m consuming useless information with no purpose, just like I talked about earlier this week.

Routines are the bedrock to my success. When I have an excellent day and I feel great at the end of it I can directly trace the results back to my routines. For me, I personally have a morning routine and a nightly routine. My morning routine consists of waking up at 5:30, meditating until 6, reading and writing until 7, and then going to the gym and being ready to work by 9. My nightly routine consists of getting ready for bed at 10 and putting my phone away, reading until 10:30, and then writing what I’m grateful for and planning my One Big Thing until I fall asleep at 11.

Routines can also become rut-ines if we aren’t careful. The moment we stop doing our routines intentionally we lose all the benefits of doing them. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, held a job, or gone to school, I’m sure you went through a time when you felt like things were stuck in a rut. Whether or not you were able to get out of the rut depended on how well you could change your mindset and go back to doing things intentionally. The same task, done the same way, can yield two extremely different results depending on our mindset. Once we stop taking tasks for granted and give the attention they deserve, things start improving.

Another reason why I need routines so much in my life is because they fulfill the promises I set with myself. How can we expect others to trust us if we can’t even trust that we will keep our own word to ourselves? Keeping promises to myself is one thing I can do to trust myself and grow each day, which also helps others know we will keep our word. I have not been good at this at all, and I have struggled with trusting myself throughout my entire life as a result. If you don’t trust yourself, add a couple things to do daily and make sure you do them. This is the simplest way to trust and respect yourself again.

I’m not saying that your day must be scheduled out completely at all. I am saying that there need to be specific tasks that you do daily. John Maxwell said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Choose things that correlate with your goals in life. Because I want to become a best-selling author in the future, much of the time in my routines corresponds to reading and writing so that I can put in the hours necessary to learn from successful authors and practice myself.

After looking back on the day today, I realize that the reason I don’t feel as good about it is because I didn’t follow my morning routine. Morning routines cause snowball effects that are either good or bad. When you start your day off with success you prime your brain to search more and more success, which you will usually find. When you start your day off by letting yourself down, not only do you try to play catch up, but you also are subconsciously telling yourself that the day has already been lost. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. It did today.

Today I lost a little bit of the trust in myself I’ve worked so hard to achieve because I didn’t wake up on time. Because of that, I ended up staring at my phone pointlessly because I had already missed the other parts of my routine. By the time I got up and started working, my mind was so dead that I put in the bare minimum, instead of being locked in like I usually am after successfully completing my morning routine. For myself, personally, my routines have an extremely noticeable effect on how the rest of my day will go, and I didn’t realize it until lately.

If you want to change your life, change it. Do something differently. Add something new. The point is, we can’t sit here thinking about how much our life sucks and how we wish it was different. Thinking changes nothing. Acting changes everything. We must act. Changing your routine can be all you need to get out of your rut-ine. If you don’t have a morning routine I highly recommend you create one immediately. You will start to see a dramatic increase in productivity and mood throughout the rest of the day when you start putting it into action.

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