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September 15, 2021

Routines are Helpful—until they Start Hurting Us.

 

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Routines. They are at the crux of everything we do.

People love routines because they ease the strain we’re under.

In fact, we love routines so much that we’ve taken it a step further. We’ve proven time and again as a society that we love when tasks can be automated.

Online bill pay. Programmable coffee makers. Keyless entry. Voice-activated. Self-driving.

We not only want things to be routine, we’d like them to be mindless. We don’t like having to put in extra effort if we feel it can be avoided. Sure, coffee from a French press might taste better but who wants to deal with all that when stumbling bleary-eyed out of bed? If our routine says our coffee will be waiting for us hot and ready at 6:00 a.m., we don’t want to sacrifice that convenience before we brush our teeth using the automatic toothbrush that eliminates the need to do all that swirling around we had to do before.

A few words to our smart home and not only are the lights off but the alarm is armed. We hop in our car that we remote started and place phone calls without ever lifting a finger.

We’ve made so many tasks in life mindless, convenient, and routine that we fail to notice when our routines begin harming us.

Checking social media before we make it out of bed. Door Dashing instead of cooking dinner. Starbucks rather than getting our eight hours of sleep. Wine to unwind.

We want it quick. We want it fast. We want it easy.

I can tell you from experience that “easy” stops working. Convenience and mindlessness eventually become our downfall.

It turns out social media love can turn on you in an instant. Delivered dinners are not what the doctor ordered. Caffeine can’t replace REM sleep. And wine is not cheaper than therapy.

Doing things mindlessly does not mean they are making our lives easier or better in any way. It simply means we’ve stopped caring and have resigned ourselves to the status quo.

Would I have felt better getting eight hours of sleep a night? Probably. But that would have cut into my wine time and how could I relax if I didn’t make time for my wine? Could my anxiety be lower if I wasn’t drinking coffee all day to wake up and wine at night to wind down? Sure, but wouldn’t that mean sacrificing the success that my career was bringing me, which allowed me all the conveniences I had come to rely on?

Routines and conveniences—we rely on them to bring order and comfort into our lives. We do it to the point that we ignore all the signs when those routines and conveniences begin to create greater chaos and turmoil. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it—right?

It’s broken. The routine is broken. It is no longer helping us.

Being hungover all the time isn’t convenient. Not having anything other than menus in the house isn’t convenient. Living with crushing anxiety daily is not easy.

Worst of all, adopting the routine of feeling like a failure doesn’t make life any easier. It instead creates a life in which we try to numb ourselves by perpetuating the routines that created this horribly inconvenient and uncomfortable life we feel stuck in.

There is hope. You don’t have to stay stuck. And it is possible to adopt routines that are equally mindless and convenient but actually make life easier.

Changing those routines probably won’t be easy and will feel terribly inconvenient at first. Most moves are like that though. Moving from a home you’ve outgrown into a larger space is definitely something to look forward to but the process of purchasing a home, packing, and moving isn’t what anyone looks forward to.

Similarly, changing your routines and moving from this life that no longer fits or feels good might not be pleasant at times, but finding the life that not only fits you but also feels good is worth the discomfort.

Mindlessness and convenience don’t have to only apply to routines that bring us down. They can easily be replaced by activities that not only sustain us but grow us.

We just need to be willing to challenge and overcome the status quo in order to seek out the routines we really need in our lives.

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Disrupting one routine can create a domino effect that makes us happier, healthier, and feel more at peace. Join us in The (free) Alcohol Experiment and see why over 265,000 people decided to disrupt their drinking routine for 30 days and see how life changes. Check it out at alcoholexperiment.com.

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