It’s been summer vacation now for exactly two weeks. It’s been amazing to have time to do whatever I want to do, and in those two weeks I’ve been to Orlando with fellow bloggers, partied it up in Vegas with my awesome friends, celebrated, and I mean CELEBRATED, the 4th of July, and squeezed various other fun summer activities inbetween.
The one thing that I haven’t been is productive. I am out of my normal routine, so I’ve been seriously slacking the the fitness department, completely forgotten about my real estate venture, and haven’t made a dent in any of my books I was eagerly anticipating reading this summer.
In short, in everything besides enjoying myself, I’ve been a complete failure.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to decompress and shake the manacles of stress off your ankles after a long, hard slog. But at some point, there needs to be a ‘come to Jesus’ moment where your life straightens back out. And for that to happen, it is absolutely essential to have a routine.
Having a routine gets a bad rap. Oftentimes sticking to a schedule means that you are viewed as someone who is unable to be flexible with planning or considered someone who is No Fun. However, having a specific plan for each day of the week is the best, nay, the ONLY way to reach your goals that you have set for yourself.
Having a routine ensures consistency. If you have ever tried to lose weight or make some gainz, you know 100% that you will NEVER reach your goal if you are not consistent. Eating a healthy amount of nutrient dense food as a habit ensures a lower body percentage just as a regular gym routine lends itself to increasing muscle density. In the same manner setting aside specific times to work on whatever you want to accomplish (and keeping those times sacred) is the only way to ensure steady progress towards those goals.
Consistency is the key aspect that can make or break a long-term play. Once the steady pace is broken, the momentum falters, and it takes quite a bit to get it going again. Keeping all your goals in forward motion is the key to gathering speed and cutting down on time and effort once things really get going.
Having a routine does allow you to be flexible. If you know that you always read an hour before bedtime, even on Fridays, but all of your friends are checking out the new wine bar opening on Friday, all you need to do is simply move up your hour of reading or break it up during the day to get it done. If you have established that something is important enough to you to get it done on a daily or weekly basis, you will find the time to fit it in if other things come up.
Flexibility is the key to not going insane. There are some routines that should never be compromised (such as brushing your teeth or hitting the gym/being active every week), but having specific tasks to accomplish shouldn’t mean that every aspect of that task is set in stone every. Being rigid in what you want to accomplish and soft on how you accomplish it at times is a recipe for success in all aspects of your life.
Having a routine guarantees results. If you do something on a regular basis, there is no way that that dedication will not show. Read ten pages every day, and eventually you WILL finish the book. Read ten pages today, then 6 pages next Friday, then 15 pages in a month, and that book may still be sitting on your nightstand two months from now.
On the flip side, your results may come from negative routines. Sit on your butt in front of the TV every night munching on Cheetos, and there is a 100% chance you will end up fat with unhealthy innards. Simply show up to your job, do what you are told to do, and then skedaddle home will guarantee that you are in that exact same position 20 years from now. You get what you give, and if you consistently give your mind, body, and soul all the wrong things, it can only reflect that negativity back to you.
Overall, we as humans need to have a routine in order to feel satisfied. Even if their lives are chaotic and they are in France today, China next month, and back home only sporadically in-between, healthy people make sure that they have set patterns within the turmoil. This may be always completing a room workout no matter where they land, or making sure to take 10 minutes morning and night to meditate and reflect on their day.
No matter what you need to set in place for yourself in order to feel accomplished and continually grow, the fact remains that there does need to be some regularity held sacred in order for the benefits of routine to be the most potent.
Think about where you want to be. Everything starts from this knowledge. If you have a clear vision of where you’re going, it is much easier to read the map to get there. While you may end up somewhere pretty cool simply by wandering the streets, it is more likely that you’ll end up taking a wrong turn and stumbling down the alleyway on the wrong side of an invisible territory line.
The great thing is, you can know where you want to go and still enjoy the scenery and unexpected detours along the way. Perhaps you weren’t expecting the croissant shop that materialized on your way to the Eiffel Tower, but you can still savor the warm pastry while navigating the streets towards your destination.
Life is a balance between enjoying the journey and accomplishing an end goal, and the reality is that if you are continually growing, you will never reach 100% of your goals right away because they will get bigger and better. Life is 99% the experiences along the way to that 1% goal. Routine will push you to reach that 1% while still allowing full exploration of that other 99% if the right attitude is put in place.
Don’t be afraid of committing to different patterns for different times in your life, but don’t make those lines so rigid they can never be crossed. Live your BEST life, and set up the parameters to make that possible.