Updated: Sep 10, 2019
I'm always trying to improve my ability to be happy and stress-free. It's a constant job, as you no doubt know. You may also know that having a routine makes it easier to remain stress-free. But what if you're like me and HATE routines? Not only do I hate routines, I can't stick to one. This causes problems, especially since I have a toddler who thrives on routine.
But why do we need a routine?
Our routines are formed by our habits. Our habits can be good or bad and everyone has them whether you like it or not. Okay, so maybe I do follow a routine.
I've been evaluating my habits recently and trying to see what I can change to make my life better. I started by examining my daily routine (that I didn't know I had).
My routine is simple and minimal, allowing for a great deal of time for me to stray from said routine. I wake up, go into the kitchen. Why am I in the kitchen? Go back to the bedroom. Go into the bathroom. Brush teeth. Go back to the kitchen and make coffee. My morning routine involves some aimless wondering around before I realize I'm awake. Much of my day continues this way, I realized. I don't like that and I think I may be wasting a lot of time. It all comes back to my bad habit of procrastination. I can't just say, "okay, I won't procrastinate anymore". We ALL know that doesn't work. I need to figure out WHY I procrastinate. It's because my house is cluttered. I have a stomach ache. I'm still sleepy. This tells me I need to practice better habits that lead to more productivity. I want to be able to keep a clutter free space, but in order to actually be motivated to pick up at least once or twice a day, I need to feel good and have energy. Hello, better health habits. Maybe I should skip out on that beer before bed and even get to bed earlier. I should probably cut dairy out of my diet because I know that upsets my stomach and makes me lethargic. When my body feels good, my mind feels good. When my mind feels good, I get things done. Seems simple enough. The trick is to keep reminding myself of this and ensuring those habits stick.
I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Here's what I've done to try to help myself stick to my desired habits; bought a new comforter and nice pillows, made a rule to be in bed by 11, made a daily schedule for myself rather than just a to do list.
The new comforter and pillows gave my bedroom a new, fresh feeling. Just what I need to kick off a new habit of making my bed every morning. It's easier to start a new habit during times of transition, no matter how big or small that transition. A new look to my bedroom seemed like a good place to start.
I've made a rule to be in bed by 11 and I've generally had an easy time getting to sleep because after I put my daughter to bed at 8, I clean the kitchen (exhausting) and finish up any yarn I had cooling off or drying. Then, I sit down to knit for about 30 minutes while I watch my favorite show, "Whose Line is it, Anyway?". It makes my "business" knitting more enjoyable. By the time 10:30 rolls around, I'm usually ready to get to bed. It's been working out.
My daily schedule starts at 7am when my daughter gets up and goes hour by hour. I need this rigidity to keep my day moving at an even pace. I've been getting quite a bit done! I've tried this before and it actually didn't work out because I couldn't make myself stick to my own schedule. Why is this time different? I don't have the answer to that. Maybe I'm fed up. Maybe I'm in a better place emotionally. I think a big factor in why I cant stick to my schedule this time is I remember how disappointed I get when I don't follow through. I feel like it's an injustice to myself.
Making these 3 changes have made a huge difference! I've been making all my meals from scratch using only fresh ingredients, consistently dying about 6 skeins of yarn per day, spending more time with my daughter and keeping my house clean. Watering the plants and taking care of horses and chickens get done, as well. It's energizing to think of all the things I can do in a day. Also, if I didn't get everything done that I wanted to, I don't beat myself up about it. Making my daily schedule has enabled me to let go of my perfectionist tendency when it rears it's ugly head.
The real work starts when my husband gets back home. He's been gone for a week. My good habits tend to fall apart when he gets home. Like I said, I'll have to get back to you on whether or not these new habits stick!