Routine brings simplicity to life, and structure that supports you for success. Sometimes it has a negative connotation, but when you have routines in place that honor your goals and dreams, amazing things can happen.
Today, on this first day of May, I’d like to challenge My Military Life readers to set up a new routine or reinvigorate an old one.
When life is running smoothly, routines keep you form wasting time on mundane tasks done inefficiently, and they allow you the time and energy to do the things you really love. But when life gets a little (or a lot!) hectic, routines can be your saving grace.
Even when the routines get lost in the chaos, you are still better off for having them. If the house is a mess and you can’t find anything, if your finances are jumbled and you don’t have a working budget, or if your calendar is incomplete and unreliable – when the unexpected things in life strike, you are already on shaky ground, and things will probably just get worse. But if you create routines and stick to them the best you can, even if you lose them when life gets crazy, you’ll have a solid foundation to see you through, and to rebuild from when things settle down.
I have a few routines that save me from a lot of headaches. Weekly meal planning, yearly/monthly budgeting, morning/night activities, and calendar scheduling are the main ones. In recent months, our household experienced some upheaval, and some of my routines slipped. But they couldn’t slip very far, because much of it has become habit. Sure, we spent more because the budget wasn’t outlined. We ate out a little bit more because the fridge wasn’t stocked for specific recipes. And maybe I missed an appointment or two. But we also knew exactly how much money we had, we were able to shop and make meals on a whim because we’ve memorized the recipes, and we kept up with almost all of our calendar commitments because of the reminders we’ve built in along the way. Even when we weren’t sticking to a routine, our routines were sticking to us! They provided a safety net to see us through, and looking back, I am very grateful for them.
The first of the month is a great day for setting new goals, and reviewing old ones. So I’m throwing down the routine gauntlet. Is there one area in life where you could really benefit from more structure? Set up a routine for it. Plan it out; write it out. What do you want to accomplish every day, or over the course of the month? What behavior would you like to make into habit? Check in daily, or weekly, and remind yourself what you are hoping to accomplish. Work on it every day for the month of May, and see what happens!
Some of you might be thinking that military life makes routines difficult. You are totally right. But, it doesn’t make them impossible. If you can marry routine with flexibility, you can find a happy medium that works for you. Remember that a routine is there for most days, not necessarily all. And nothing is black and white. If life gets in the way for a day, just do your best and start again fresh on the next one. Tweak the routine as you go until you find the version that works best. You might learn a lot about yourself and how you function best in the process.
Check back at My Military Life throughout the month for more posts on setting up routines to set up for success. If you’ve got a routine that you love and want to share, please do so in the comments. And in June, when I post again, I want to hear all about your new routine!