Tag Archives: routine

Do You Love Being Back in Your Routine? I Do.

I was out of town on vacation last week, but today I’m back in the usual swing (mostly) of my routine.

And I love it.

I’ve noticed that some people really enjoying being away from their usual routines; they try to avoid having a lot of habits; they feel freer, more energetic, and more creative when their lives are less predictable.

I’m just the opposite. I embrace habits and routine. For me, discipline brings a sense of freedom, and I love the sense of my day unfolding as I’ve planned.

How about you? Do you cultivate habits or fight them? Are you happy to be back from a trip, or do you dislike settling back into the usual routine?

As always, the secret of happiness is to know yourself. I used to feel bad about the fact that I was such a homebody creature of habit, but now that I follow my personal commandment to Be Gretchen, I embrace this aspect of myself.

If you’d like to read more along these lines, check out Happier at Home, chapter six.

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Want an Exercise Routine You’ll Stick To? Ask Yourself These 11 Questions.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day, or Quiz Day, or List Day.

This Wednesday: Want an exercise routine you’ll stick to? Ask yourself these eleven questions.

When I ask people what they’d like to do for their own happiness projects, they often say something like, “Exercise more regularly.” Exercise is very important for health and mood, and everyone knows this–and yet it’s often tough for people to stick to an exercise routine.

I think that one mistake is to choose a form of exercise based on a) what your friend recommends, b) what kind of change to your body you want to see, or c) what is the fashionable form of exercise. It’s helpful to consider these factors, but in the end, we’re far more likely to stick with an exercise routine that suits our nature and our schedule. If you’re struggling to exercise regularly, this is not the place to fight your nature! If you’ve been a night person all your life, vowing to get up at 5:00 a.m. to run isn’t very realistic.

Ask yourself these questions, and when you’re done, think about what kind of exercise routine would suit you best:

1. Are you a morning person or a night person?

2. Would you like to spend more time in nature?

3. Would you like more time in solitude; or more time with friends; or more time to meet new people?

4. Are you motivated by competition?

5. Do you enjoy loud music?

6. Do you do better with some form of external accountability, or does that just annoy you?

7. Would you like to challenge yourself with exercise (whether by learning a new skill or pushing yourself physically)–or not?

8. Do you like sports and games?

9. Would you like more meditative time, or more time to watch TV, read newspapers, etc?

10. Do you have a lot of control over your time?

11. Are you sensitive to weather?

Your answers should guide your thinking about exercise. Work out with a trainer? Take a class? Be inside or outside? etc.

For instance, if you’re a morning person who craves solitude and time alone with your thoughts, but has little control over  your schedule and hates feeling accountable to anyone, you might enjoy walking in a park every morning before you leave for work.

If you’re a night person who loves music and meeting new people, and is also motivated by accountability, you might like to take a dance-based exercise class after work.

Often, people will say, “Go for a twenty minute walk at lunch? That’s nothing. I really need to get in shape.” Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! The twenty minute walk you take is so much better for you than the three mile run you never do. You get the biggest health boost going from no exercise to some exercise.

Just a little tweak in a routine sometimes makes a big difference. For instance, to exercise on the weekends, I go for a long walk. Generally, I like to think while I walk, but I do a lot of walking every day, and I found myself getting bored on the long walks–and so finding excuses to skip them.

One of my Twelve Personal Commandments is to Identify the problem. What was the problem? “I’m bored during these walks, so I don’t want to go.” For the first time, I bought myself an audiobook, and for the past few weeks I’ve been listening to The Golden Compass when I walk. It makes me so happy! I haven’t missed a day’s walk since I started.

How about you? What aspects of your nature and your schedule make it easier–or harder–to stick to an exercise routine? What works for you?

Secret of Adulthood: What I Do Every Day Matters More Than What I Do Once in a While.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

I have to remind myself of this, constantly. It’s related to the “argument of the growing heap” and the question, “Can one coin make a person rich?

Do you agree? Does what you do every day matter more than what you do once in a while?

Secret of Adulthood: What I Do Every Day Matters More Than What I Do Once in a While.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

Agree or disagree?

For me, I find, this is really true. If something’s important to me, I try to figure out a way to make it part of my ordinary routine.

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“If You Do the Same Thing Every Day at the Same Time For the Same Length of Time…”

“If you do the same thing every day at the same time for the same length of time, you’ll save yourself from many a sink. Routine is a condition of survival.”

–Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being, letter to “A,” February 10, 1962

Here, O’Connor was specifically talking about the habit of writing; she wrote every morning for three hours, in the same place at the same time. How about you? Do you find accomplishing certain things to be easier if you regularly do them the same way? Or do you find routine stifling? I love routine.