More often than not we find comfort in our routine. We feel safe knowing that there is no ‘unknown’ that we have to overcome. Especially in our daily lives. Routine has more benefits than it does drawbacks. It allows us to excel in every routine task there is.
What routine does
A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. Something we are used to doing every day. Which means we are more likely to ‘excel’ at it, no matter what it may be. It could be waking up at 5 AM. Or making lunch for the kids really quickly. Whatever it is, it is easier to be good at it. Because we know that practice makes ‘perfect.
Routine also helps our mental health. It allows us to feel safe knowing what is going to happen. Many people who suffer from anxiety are recommended to get into a healthy routine. This is because many times when our days are spent at random, sleeping at odd times, eating late nights, and not eating others, our body finds it hard to adjust. Thereafter having a misalignment in our body.
How can that be bad?
As we know, a routine promotes a lot of healthy benefits. But it also a place of comfort. I mean, if we are really good at something, why would do something where we would struggle? But that is really just the point. In our comfort zone, there is not much place for growth. We need to be stretched, a little bruised (figuratively), and tired.
A comfortable routine can sometimes limit our potential. For example, I wake up at 8 AM every morning and sleep at 10 PM every night. That’s my usual routine. If I stick to that routine, I may start to feel like that is the only way I can function. So if I had to wake up at 7 AM, I would feel like my day is out of balance. But it is only as bad as we think it is. In this case, waking up at 7 AM may just be the push that I need. Once my body adjusts to wake up an hour earlier, I can fit an hour of anything into my schedule.
Many times we complain that there are not enough hours in the day. And rightfully so, sometimes our schedules don’t allow for everything to get done. But luckily we are not chained to a schedule with ourselves. At any time we can change the contract we made with ourselves to better our days.
Once when we have already achieved a goal, we set a new one right? Likewise with routine. Once we have concurred with one routine, it’s important to stretch our potential. We can only shift and adjust as much as we make ourselves shift and adjust.
Going into a new routine
For Muslims all over the world, Ramadan has just ended. Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, for 30 days. Ramadan is a time of spiritual upliftment. But it is also a time that takes us out of our daily routine. We are required to wake up before sunrise and eat. Which is definitely out of the ordinary. We then carry on throughout our entire day without eating. But still going to work, cleaning, fetching the kids from school. And then obviously, eating after sunset.
Ramadan is a time where we a pushed to get out of our normal routine. We are pushed to not depend on our morning coffee. Or think about where we will buy lunch. We wake up out of schedule, eat out of schedule, and sleep out of schedule. And somehow it seems to work perfectly fine. In other words, it expands our potential in terms of what we are capable of. Sometimes I feel like I really can’t think without having a coffee first. But when we push ourselves to believe otherwise, it is always true.
The greatest benefit comes from taking small, consistent steps. Be careful not to leap into a new routine. It’s overwhelming and not at all sustainable. No adjustment is too small. Especially if it is the direction of growth!
Adjusting to a new routine is the same as any exercise. At first, it can be a little uncomfortable. Maybe difficult. And definitely not as easy as something we are used to. But when our mind and body work in unison, there are no limits to what we can achieve. If we were to read the same page of information every day for a long time, we would eventually know it from memory. And if we were to do squats with a 10kg weight, after a couple of weeks it would be too easy.
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