How successful is your routine?
Do you have a routine in your life? How does it work? Do you wish you had a better one?
Everyone (and their uncles) talks about routines. There are bestselling books that talk all about the habits of successful people. This has irked me for as long as I can remember and it was only recently that I realized why.
When I was 10 years old my mom died. My dad had to take a new job in the nearest city which was about a 1.5 hour commute from where we lived. He would get up and leave by 4:30 in the morning so that he could get home earlier enough to see his only child awake for a short couple of hours.
I was in 5th grade at the time. Every morning I would wake up and there would be a little to-do list waiting for me on the kitchen butcher block. It included simple things like: 1. Brush teeth, 2. Brush hair, 3. Get dressed, 4. Eat breakfast, 5. Feed the dog, 6. Let the dog out, etc. It was my father's way of helping me get through the morning so that I could catch the bus on time and get to school. I was just a kid though and trying to think even this linear level of self-care was a bit beyond my still undeveloped frontal cortex. I remember one morning when I slept through my alarm. I rushed out the door, ignoring the little list. I was so ashamed for having slept through my alarm AGAIN that I didn't want to tell my neighbor who would have gladly given me a ride. I walked the 30 minutes to school crying. When I got home I found an anxious and pitifully hungry dog desperate for food who had gone to the bathroom on the carpet in the living room. As you can imagine, I stacked the pain of having neglected my poor pup on top of my own shame, loneliness, and failure. And this happened any number of times. It was a rough time in my childhood.
Not surprisingly, I created a powerfully resistant association to to-do lists and routines (and alarm clocks for that matter). So earlier this year I decided to liberate myself from a routinized day. And it was heavenly!! Every day looked different and I felt like I was on creative and productive fire!!
Until I wasn't.
It wasn't until recently that I got really and brutally honest with myself that "just going with the flow" is only half of my Greatness Formula. It turns out that I need space for both. Structure and Fluidity. Rules and rule breaking. Alone though, they are too much of a good thing, at least for me. It was an important step for me to reject routine because it was the first step in healing my old story and letting it go. Now I am gathering up that story once more so that I can redefine it, repurpose it, and reclaim it.
I am not that little girl struggling to take care of herself, make her father proud, and grieve her mother all at once. I am a grown, conscious, passionate, hungry-for-life woman and routine gets to be one of my many juicy, spiritual playthings.
For me this latest foray into self-reflection has been a reminder that I can always go deeper when I think I have "finally figured it out", whatever it happens to be this month, as well as a gentle nudge to hook back in to one of my core beliefs. That I choose who I am and how I am. So what will my choice be?
My new routine involves journaling, fancy coffee, exercising, eating well, and focusing on how to serve my community. And above all, I approach this routine with heaping doses of gentleness, self-love, and an obnoxiously relentless cheerfulness. I didn't get it perfect the first week, nor the second, but it's in the renewal of my decision to love myself like crazy and make my success non-negotiable that makes my growth continue to accelerate.
What will yours be? What do you do each day to pay homage to your power and your sovereignty? What do you focus on to remind yourself of how immense you truly are? What do you align to that keeps you reaching for greatness and rejecting mediocrity? How do you stay plugged in to the bossest, baddest, bestest version of YOU?
We all have old stories that we created at some point in the past about why we are the way we are and why we do things the way we do them. But if those beliefs are not helping you make your life the best fucking possible life you could live, then it is time to blow off the dust and give those suckers a re-write. We are the authors of our experiences, the meaning we give them, and what that means for the way we show up here and now.
So tell me. What do you do to re-engage yourself as the chief author of your experience?
All yours with heaping loads of wild love,
P.S. You're soul is the best writer on your team. When was the last time you let it take a stab at penning your future?
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