“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I get bored in life pretty easily.
Monotony scares the hell out of me, and I always said I’d rather be a broke nomad WWOOFing on a farm to make ends meet than end up in a job I hate, sitting at the same desk beside Brenda for the next 20 years.
But I also love routine. Consistency. I love getting to know the people at my yoga studio and building friendships through a sport or another hobby and biking the same route to a workspace and getting up and going to the gym at 7 a.m. each morning because I know I always feel better for it.
As humans, we crave consistency. But novelty is what keeps us inspired and growing. So, how do we find the balance between the two?
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.” ~ Paulo Coelho
I know that as a 20-something my life looks a lot different from a lot of people, but I do believe we can incorporate these tactics in small ways no matter our situation.
1. The 90-Day Plan.
You know when you start a workout plan, they say to do it for 12 weeks and then you need to change things up otherwise you plateau? I like to apply this to my personal schedule. It gives me enough time to learn something and find some stability, and then pivot, and shake things up a little before I get too comfortable.
For example, I recently took up boxing. It’s a 13-week course and it’s been fun to learn a new skill. But after this term is up, I’ll be ready for something new. Maybe I’ll try improv or switch to doing only yoga during the winter months when things slow down a little.
It doesn’t even have to be about joining something organized, especially if money is tight and these things can be expensive. But we can also change when we want to work out—maybe do mornings for 90 days, then instead make your mornings all about writing. Creative time. And do exercise in the evenings instead.
Or walk a different route to work every 12 weeks. Change up your physical surroundings so you experience the world in a slightly different way. This can be incredibly refreshing and gives us something to look forward to throughout our year.
2. Intuitive Routine-ing.
I like to think of this as the do-whatever-the-heck-you-want-when-you-want routine. (Give or take certain commitments and priorities we have to keep to in life.)
Some mornings, we don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. and go to the gym. And that’s okay. Maybe today I let myself sleep in and rise when my body is ready (or the alarm has gone off for the fifth time). And I adjust my schedule and go to the gym in the evening instead. Or don’t.
In the mood for something fun and exciting? Go to a comedy show that night. Or find a local live music bar. Or see if friends are free to meet up. Want to get away for the weekend? Get a cheap bus ticket and see where you can jet off too.
Who cares if you don’t make your overnight oats this one night of the week—you will survive. And the memories you have down the line will be all the richer because of it.
We need to stop living our lives for our two-week vacations and live in the now. We need to remember that our lives are ours for the taking and if we can find the means, we can make them what we want.
So often we feel stuck.
And, for me, monotony always felt the most constrictive. But I’m learning to find freedom in monotony. Because when we have that stability and comfort, we have a foundation for us to expand upon; a home base that will always be there to come back to so we can be spontaneous and keep things spicy.
This is how we continuously evolve, grow, and stay in love with our lives.