We may find ourselves eating the same lunch every day, plopping down in front of the TV every night at 6:30 with the same dinner and the same show, checking our Twitter feed every time we feel an irritating itch of inactivity, or going to bed at the same time every night. Whatever routines we’ve trained ourselves into following each and every day (perhaps because we found comfort in the inherent familiarity) maybe now that comfort has become a prison of our own making.
Maybe life feels like an endless march of bland, boring same-old same-old days.
When this happens our inner lives can feel like two tectonic plates have jammed together and refuse to shake loose. Maybe we’ve learned about meditation and we’ve tried looking inward for answers only to find sluggishness and resentment. We then might search for outside influences that can break us free, but those encouragements never seem to come.
And sometimes it even might seem that our outer world is working to prevent us from moving forward: perhaps a paycheck is late, a laptop’s wigging out on deadline day, or someone spills their vanilla latte on our new clothes.
We can take ownership of this situation and take action to turn stagnation into momentum.
Changing even the smallest aspects of our daily lives can help. We can break up a daily routine in little ways as well as big ways.
We can switch up our personal lunch menu, shut off the TV after work, change our dinner plans, and set our phones to Do Not Disturb. We can take a hot shower at night before bed (instead of the morning), curl up with a new book, and go to bed a fifteen minutes later. Grocery shop on Sunday mornings and Wednesdays after work? Let’s change it up. Shop on Saturday and Tuesday if our schedule allows. Free time on weekends? Let’s go on a nature hike instead of hanging out on social media or binging that new Netflix series everyone’s talking about.
Our new action should be whatever’s out of the ordinary for us. Maybe for you it is about allowing yourself to binge that new series with a bowl of popcorn on your lap! Let go.
As an unscripted television producer, I bounce from gig to gig. I’ve been doing this for quite some time now and it’s easy to feel stuck in a rut professionally, especially during those weeks between jobs. Recently, I decided it was time to do something totally different with one of my mornings – something I normally just wouldn’t do. For me, that was bowling on a weekday in the middle of the morning. I bowled two games with my wife. We each won a game. We had a blast. We laughed at our gutter balls and cheered our strikes and spares. I felt a release afterward. It felt wonderful to change up the routine. It allowed me to gain an objective perspective and let go of negativity.
Everyone’s different, of course. Maybe for you it’s not bowling, but it’s visiting a museum, taking a yoga class, or refining a spreadsheet that will track expenditures at home or in your business. Take a moment now and ask yourself, “If I were to do something that’s totally different than anything I would normally do right now, what would that be?”
Once you’ve made a decision, plan a time that’s sure to change up your routine. The idea is to interrupt your normal flow and to make you feel like you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. Bowling was stepping out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t at home trying to make things happen professionally. I wasn’t sourcing new contacts or writing my second novel or posting on LinkedIn. I was out in the middle of the day playing. And it felt great!
Act within reason of course; I wouldn’t advise ditching work or bailing out on an important appointment for a day at the amusement park!
You may feel fear. You might feel silly to even consider it. Make yourself a promise to break out of your routine and hold yourself to it. Go do it.
From an article in Psychology Today (you can follow the link below): “Growth seems to require we take new action first, whether it's adopting a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations and leaving yourself there alone, so to speak, often forces beneficial change.”
You’ll thank yourself as you experience renewed creativity, courage, and maybe even a new zest for life. You never know where your next inspiration will come from.
Want to go deeper? Follow this link to a lovely twenty-minute meditation on new beginnings.
Take a chance. Do the unexpected. What are you waiting for?