My Relationship With the Word Routine


I have a weird relationship with the word “routine”.. the enneagram 7 in me revolts at the idea of a routine. But everyone tells me it’s important to find a routine.
I do best with spontaneity, I thrive off of ‘wingin it’…
So having a personality that LOVES adventure and going with the flow and changing things up constantly…
Paired with a growing love for “routine” and stability and being a homebody…
Can cause confusion and anxiety… at minimum.. and full blown anxiety/panic attacks at her peak.
So, I am cautious with myself when my inner dialogue strives for finding a “routine”. It’s become a red flag in my vocabulary.

Let me explain.
I am by no means anti-routine. I know it absolutely has it’s place, and I know many successful people SWEAR by it.

But in order for it to have prolific effects in my life, I have had to change the relationship I have with the word, while also changing the relationship I have with comparing myself to others.

Tough pills to swallow:

1) What works for some doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

2) The way we talk to ourselves and the vocabulary we use might be more important than the actual *thing* we are trying to accomplish.

Instead of, “I need to have a routine- I need to be more organized- I need to have a planned out schedule- I need my checklist!”

Which are all great wishes to have, they certainly have their place, but what happens when I don’t perfectly follow said new routine? What happens if I don’t check all my to do list boxes? What happens when LIFE happens and throws me for a loop, far away from this new way of living?

It makes me feel like I have failed- and that is counter productive not only in the chase for productivity, but in striving for a high quality life.

So I have changed the language I use when speaking with Ms. Routine.

I allow the desire for a more reliable schedule.

I understand it feels good to hold myself accountable.

I strive to be timely and dependable.

But when life happens, as it inevitably does, I will not let myself feel inaqequate just because I didn’t “stick to my routine” as perfectly as I would have wanted to.

I give myself permission to be human. That’s it.
That makes more sense to me.
In my opinion, it’s more comfortable to allow wiggle room, and after all we are creatures of comfort.

I am not and would never preach, “what works for me is what should work for everybody!!” – quite the contrary, I hope that you seek out a way of living that works for you.

I hope you are willing to change that inner dialogue in a way that benefits the quality of your life, and doesn’t make you feel less than.
After years of trial and error in finding and sticking to a “routine”- I have let go of the idea that a routine can only be structured and rigid.

So, for now… for me…
I am going to ditch the word “routine” and replace it with “flow”- it feels more breathable to me, more human. It allows for spontaneity, while also maintaining form. Much like a wave.
I am slowly getting back into a writer and work flow. I am finding a better balance in my workout and yoga flow. I am working to have a better mental health flow.
This means that I’m allowing my summer mornings to be a mixture of it ALL.
Slow and purposeful.
Hectic and sporadic.
Get up and exercise!
Stay in bed until Moose wakes me up.
Picking a routine can feel like an unwanted privilege and anxiety ridden luxury, especially during times of living through a pandemic and navigating necessary civil unrest. There is enough happening globally, so start with yourself.

You might have the perfect plan for how to navigate waters ahead, but if you try to force yourself into waves and currents, you will only find yourself in a harder predicament than if you were to have a plan, while also acknowledging the power of the ocean.

Find your flow, ride the wave, have a plan, but be ready to ditch the mindset that has been holding you back or steering you further off course.

This is *so* San Diego of me… but I hope you find your perfect wave and the first step to finding your perfect wave is to acknowledge that it won’t look like anyone elses.

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