Routines are human nature. Why not create some that will mint gold? – Hafiz
Last Sunday, I wrote about the value of embracing change, rather than resisting it. This may lead you to wonder why on earth I would now tell you that routines are the key to a happy life. No, I’m not contradicting myself. I’m not talking about the kinds of routines that keep us stuck in a rut. I’m talking about positive routines.
When the Dalai Lama was asked “if you only had one word to describe the secret of happiness, and of living a fulfilling and meaningful life, what would that word be,” he replied without hesitating: “routines.”
By definition, a routine is something that we do regularly, without thinking much about it. Once established, routines become a consistent part of our lives. Positive routines include meditation, exercise, eating regular healthy meals,spending time with family and friends, and doing things we love. Because routines don’t require us to constantly make new decisions, they help us live a more relaxed life. And when we’re more relaxed, there’s more balance in our lives, and more time to focus on the things that really matter.
We all have routines, so why not create positive ones?
Marc Lesser, the author of Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, suggests making a list of all the routines you currently have in your day, especially those you perform first thing in the morning. Then go through your list and identify which routines you’d like to drop, as well as some positive routines you’d like to add. Maybe sleeping until the last possible minute, and then rushing to get out of the house and to work on time is not the best way to start your day. Perhaps, building in ten or fifteen minutes of quiet time will create a new routine that will have a positive effect on your day long after the small investment of time.
Some of my favorite routines include taking time to sip my morning coffee and reflect on the day ahead before I turn on the computer to check e-mail, playtime with Allegra and Ruby after breakfast, my daily walks, and reading for at least half an hour each day. One of my routines that I should probably drop is checking e-mail one last time before I go to bed. I think that time would be much better spent playing with Allegra and Ruby.
Cats are creatures of routine – maybe that’s why they’re so happy and content.
What are some of your favorite routines? Are there any routines you’d like to drop?