I have always been a bit of a creature of habit and routine. I usually order the same thing at my go-to restaurant. When I am actually in LA, I attend the same classes at Equinox. I get up every morning and follow the same morning practice (if you’re wondering…I make my bed, mix up my water with lemon and blend up a tea tonic, then head back to my room for oracle reading and meditation).
Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo. Or because I’m the oldest. Or because my Dad is an accountant and I inherited the structure gene. Or maybe it is a combination of all those and more.
It does not matter why I am a creature of habit – or why you are too. And even not being able to stick to a routine is a habit!
What does matter is being aware of when habits are supportive and when they are not.
Having discipline and routine has served me well, but I am also aware of how it can limit my life.
Most of our routines are created with good intentions. Whenever we want to establish better habits like eating healthy, we need new routines to actually make changes that last. Certain routines are also very useful during times of uncertainty. If you are starting a new business with a lot of unknowns, having a structured routine around work hours and task completion not only creates productivity but also a feeling of certainty.
So when do habits become limiting?
Here are some ways I have found to be aware of:
• Getting too comfortable. After something has become a routine for a while, it can be so cozy and predicable that change does not occur. I love being a little sore after a workout. I know that may sounds masochistic but it means that I did something different enough that challenged my body. If I always did the same routine day after day, I would stop seeing results.
To get different results, we need to mix things up. Doing different things is what stretches us to grow and develop new skills. Participating in out-of-our-comfort-zone activities is what helps us deepen or develop qualities like courage, confidence and creativity.
Where are you too comfortable in life?
What can you do to alter a current routine in your life to get a little uncomfortable?
What routines have you outgrown and what are some new ones you can stretch toward?
• Being too certain. We all love to know, plan and control. Come on admit it, you like knowing and having dominion over what is happening in your life! I get it. There is a sense of safety that our mind (ego) loves to elicit from routines. But operating within certainty can present serious obstacles to growth and insights.
Y’all know that I am passionate about how Expectation Hangovers come along to help us heal, grow, and change. And at the heart of every disappointment, is a feeling of uncertainty and loss of control, which is AWESOME. I do not think it’s awesome because I want you to hurt (except for being a little sore in a good way from a workout!). An expectation hangover is awesome because it necessitates a new way of thinking, feeling, and acting.
It is only when we feel a little lost that we find our ways to heightened creative thinking and deeper levels of understanding. Being lost or uncertain is not a bad thing.
Are there certain routines you continue to adhere to because they bring a feeling of certainty and control?
Has your life become too predictable?
Where can you get a little lost in your life?
• A false sense of confidence. This is a delicate one because I want every single one of you to know and feel how truly amazing you are. You have every reason to be confident which is really about full self-acceptance and love.
But habituation of certain routines can lead to a false sense of confidence because we feel like we’ve mastered something and make it the source of our worthiness. I have seen this happen with many professional athletes for instance. They become extraordinary at what they do so much so that it defines them. Their entire life is based upon routines and happen that support success in their profession. And then when their career ends, they often go through an identity crisis and question their self-worth. The same thing can be said for any profession or role that we identify with.
Is there a role in life you play that you have built routines around that gives you a sense of identity?
What are some new habits you can put in place that have absolutely nothing to do with your usual roles and responsibilities?
My overall suggestion to you is to conduct a habits and routine inventory by considering the points and questions I mentioned above. Yes, discipline serves us but it is paramount to our growth to become aware of when certain structures become confining.
Success is not just about discipline. True success and strength also requires flexibility. @christinhassler (Click to Tweet!)
So take a different route to work. Go to a restaurant with food you’ve never tried in a neighborhood you haven’t gone to. Talk to a stranger. Head to a dance class instead of the gym. Lead a meditation at the beginning of your next staff meeting. Learn a new program on your computer. Enroll in an Improv class. Take an art class. See a new exhibit at a museum instead of shopping. The options are endless!! You have my support to get creative and courageous.
Balance keeping habits in place which are supportive and self-honoring with shaking up your routine to grow, stretch your faith muscles, and build your confidence.
P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of: RawPixel.