Creating a Routine

Creating a routine for myself has not always been my strong suit.

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Over the years, I have worked in fits and starts to create a routine.

While I have achieved success, I have also managed to lose my routine along the way. This, however, is due to occurrences of change.

It’s important to remember and acknowledge that change is inevitable. Further, it’s the one and only constant in the entire Universe.

That being said, since change is inevitable, you need to adapt and make it — or it will make you.

That’s where a lot of my problem lies.

Establishing a routine has admittedly been easier the times where I held the most conventional of my jobs. Working 9–5 or somewhere in that timeframe, routine came fairly easily overall.

For example, in the mid-90s, following a distressing experience, I started going to the gym regularly. Because of where my gym was located, I went there before work — did my workout, and went to my office. This became a regular and easy to maintain routine.

As I have changed jobs, the routine changed. For a while, when I had to take an hour at lunch, I did my workout during that hour (since the gym was a short, indoor walk away). I managed to get into a routine with the gym on and off for years.

Note — on and off. Following a year or so of routine, I slipped. And this was because of a change — in job or living circumstances or what-have-you — which broke my routine.

When you have a set work schedule, a routine is easier. Now, working for myself from home, it’s a greater challenge.

But I know it’s one I need to do better with.

Why is this important?

It is very easy to get distracted when you set your own schedule — and when you have a penchant for improvisation and spontaneity. Creating a routine for how your day is going to be laid out takes a lot more concentration and effort when you’re accountable to only yourself.

Extenuating circumstances and outside matters also impact this. For example, there have been no fencing practices since March 2020. Since recovering from my accident in 2000, I have attended 1–3 fencing practices a week for 19 years. But because of COVID-19, we’re not gathering to practice.

The exercise I got from fencing was not just physical, but mental. I can think of maybe a handful of times in almost 30 years when fencing practice didn’t make me feel incredible.

Yet, thanks to the pandemic, this is not currently part of my routine. Which is having certain negative impacts on my health and wellbeing.

Translation — I have gained weight and am not releasing stress or centering as I have been for a long, long time.

When I am — for the most part — accountable to only myself, creating and keeping a routine is extra challenging.

Some are easier than others. For example, when I wake up in the morning, I get out of bed, have a full glass of water, then sit down to read. I read at least 1 chapter of fiction and 1 chapter of nonfiction (sometimes more). This routine has settled in and has been my practice for a couple of months now.

But other routines being tagged onto it have proven harder to maintain. I have tried to meditate immediately upon finishing reading. As easy as this should be — I still don’t get right to it.

Thus, it’s up to me to find and/or create what I need.

How do I create a routine?

First, I must identify what needs to be done daily. While I’ve done this — my stick-to-it-ness isn’t so perfect. Thus, it may be time to both write this out (and print it and place it in a hard-to-miss spot) and I may need an accountability partner.

Second, I need to commit to making this happen.

Third, when I don’t do it — I need to let it go, accept that I didn’t, and then do it the next day.

Okay, taking all this into account — what needs to go into my daily routine?

Here’s what I need/desire to do most weekdays:

  • Read at least 1 chapter each of fiction and nonfiction
  • Write at least 1 blog/article
  • Write at least 1500 words of fiction
  • Take a walk or ride the stationary bike
  • Keep up with my hourly 250 steps per my FitBit
  • Edit at least 1 chapter of a finished work
  • Meditate for 20 minutes
  • Drink 1 tall glass of water at least every 2 hours

This is not a long, exhaustive list of things to do. But I also must allow for things that pop-up and might require immediate attention. Still, they shouldn’t derail any of what I desire to do.

I think it might be good to put these into more of an order. So, let’s do that:

  1. Read at least 1 chapter each of fiction and nonfiction
  2. Meditate for 20 minutes
  3. Write at least 1 blog/article
  4. Keep up with my hourly 250 steps per my FitBit **
  5. Drink 1 tall glass of water at least every 2 hours **
  6. Write at least 1500 words of fiction
  7. Take a walk or ride the stationary bike
  8. Edit at least 1 chapter of a finished work

** These are ongoing and occur from 9am-6pm

Divide and conquer

Just a quick glance at this list tells me that it should probably be divided into two parts. The best place for that division is lunch.

So, from wake-up to lunchtime, I need to:

  1. Read at least 1 chapter each of fiction and nonfiction
  2. Meditate for 20 minutes
  3. Write at least 1 blog/article

Then, after lunch, I need to:

  1. Write at least 1500 words of fiction
  2. Take a walk or ride the stationary bike
  3. Edit at least 1 chapter of a finished work

Throughout my day, I need to:

  1. Keep up with my hourly 250 steps per my FitBit
  2. Drink 1 tall glass of water at least every 2 hours

Broken down like that, it seems a lot less daunting. And that’s probably the key to creating a routine. Chunk it down into more reasonable pieces. That makes it a lot more approachable.

Now I need to create a means to account for this — and get an accountability partner. Or two.

It begins by acknowledging that creating a routine for myself has not always been my strong suit. But now that I have broken it down like this, I can see that it should be pretty damned easy to do.

Talk is cheap. Action is necessary. But the best way to get where I desire to be is to practice a better set routine. Let’s see what I can do here.

Thank you for being part of my ongoing journey, for joining me, and for inspiring me and my craft.

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Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, my creative process, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on December 19, 2020.

Written by

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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