Yesterday, I was asked if I had a morning routine. I had to think before answering. Largely because just days before I initiated a new practice – starting my week days by connecting with a person I’ve been thinking about but with whom I haven’t spoken recently. It didn’t seem fair to refer to a two-day-old habit as a routine yet. What I realized in that moment is that we all have routines – some of us are just more deliberate about them than others.
We have them in our work practices just as we have them in our personal lives. You may not go to sleep with the intention of groggily starting your next day with animosity for the schedule that awaits you, but if you do that consistently – by default, it is your routine. For others it may be coffee, exercise, prayer, reading, or hitting snooze until 20 minutes late while still in bed. What you do habitually becomes your routine. But the routine you set for yourself – that becomes ritual.
The answer I actually gave to the question was that I have different routines for different types of days…working out of town has a different flow than speaking locally which is different still from work days at my desk, I said. It felt like a cop out. If something is important enough for me to want to build into my daily routine – make it a ritual – it is important enough to do every day. As a person with a history of doing things for others, I recently decided that I want to do something for myself to start each day. While it doesn’t need to be the same thing each day, it does need to be intentional and it does need to be consistent.
So, this morning I did something for Kimberly, as I have for the past five days. It wasn’t extravagant, complicated, or overly indulgent. But it was good. I took a bike ride. It didn’t go quite as expected – my access to the beachfront was restricted since a few hundred others were doing their “something” in the form of a triathlon – so I followed another route. I treated myself to a latte which I rode home with and then enjoyed, sitting in the shade of my side yard, with a meal I cooked. Sadly, I don’t recall that last time I had done that. But I will be doing it again next Sunday – before I fly to Detroit for a week of work there. And between tomorrow and next Sunday, I will start another six days intentionally doing something for myself.
Here is the crazy thing. As I have begun doing these things – carving out time for myself, connecting with people I hold dearly and miss – more of the same types of things have begun flowing to me. Uninitiated. In the past 36 hours, three friends reached out inviting me to socialize; my dad stopped by unannounced and I joined him on a walk; and a good friend dropped by to catch up. My own take-away from this post is if you want more of something in your life, start doing more of it – and you will attract even more of it! So, what will you be doing?
What are your habits, routines, and rituals? Why did you start them? How do they serve you? What do you do to ensure their priority?