One of the reasons I love cats so much is that they’re creatures of routine. I love my daily rituals, from that first cup of coffee while I sit on my loveseat and contemplate the world outside my window to tucking myself into bed with my girls at night. But I’ve come to realize that there’s a fine line between enjoying routine, and being set in your ways.
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.
The definition of being set in your ways is doing the same thing every day, and not wanting to change your routine even if it no longer serves you.
So while having a routine and liking it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, being so set in your ways that there’s no room for change in your life is. Martha Stewart once said “When you are through changing, you are through.” I think she’s on to something.
One of the many joys of single life and having no one but Allegra and Ruby to answer to is that I can structure my life anyway I want. For me, that means a mixture of routine and spontaneity. I try to keep a balance, but lately, the balance has tipped to a little too much routine, so I decided to mix things up a little. Every day, I try to change at least one habit, even just a little.
Here are some suggestions on how to shake up your routines a little so you don’t end up being too set in your ways:
- Walk a different route. I have several loops for my daily walks, and most days, I don’t really think about which loop to take, I just seem to end up on the same loop each day. This past week, I made a conscious effort to change it up every day. It was quite amazing to me how this seemed to free up mental space and increased my creativity. This also works if you’re driving the same route to work each day: change it up once or twice a week.
- Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. You’ll be surprised how challenging this is!
- Wear something in a bold new color you wouldn’t normally wear. Lately, I’ve been finding myself drawn to colors I don’t usually like, such as orange or teal.
- Choose an activity you loved as a child, and try it again. Making mud pies? Lying on your back watching the clouds? Indulge yourself. You may be surprised at how this changes the way you feel.
- Order something different at your favorite restaurant. Even though I eat out a lot, I tend to order the same few dishes at the restaurants I go to the most. By being more adventurous, I’ve discovered some wonderful new items.
- If you have a favorite spot where you sit when you read or watch television, change it up and sit somewhere else. Fair warning: your cats, being the creatures of habit they are, may not appreciate this one. I tried this one evening, and Allegra and Ruby were so confused, they wouldn’t settle down until I went back to my usual spot. While I’m all for changing my life for the better, I, of course, would never do it at the expense of the comfort of my cats!
Do you worry about being too set in your ways? What one thing will you change this week?