There are a lot of books in the past few years about creating Habits. I had first understood the value of them from reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins back in 1997. It seemed like such a obvious thing. I like spontaneity, but there is no need to make the mundane and necessary ad hoc. I have my set routine to get ready for bed, wake up in the morning – I’m even realized that I am a bit OCD in that I seem to have the exact same steps during every shower.
Having routines makes it so much easier to deal with interrupts or to introduce new habits. It allows your mind to be free because you can have confidence that that human nature will take over take care of those things that are in the routines. It allows my mind to wander or focus on more important things (I’m sure those with kids understand that!). Without routines, you’re just adding extra noise and cognitive load to yourself. A little OCD isn’t really a bad thing!
Three new items I’ve added to my routines lately:
Wake up Yoga — Yes, I know it is so ‘San Francisco’… new age and contrite. yada, yada, yada… but yes, I get up and do a few contortions. I used to go to Yoga regularly while living in London (and yes, I started because I thought it would be great way to meet ladies, and yes, it turns out to be true…). Unfortunately, after leaving London, I’ve only been to Yoga in fits and spurts. Now, I do a few exercises at the exact time before jumping into the shower every morning. So far, it is going better and it is putting me into a good mood in the morning too and I’m no longer having to think about doing it. I think I originally fell off because I couldn’t find a chilled and relaxed place like I had in London. If anyone has suggestions for the Bay Area, please let me know!
Bedtime Reading — I have been more ‘binge’ reading in the past year. Reading a book over a weekend, but then not reading at all for weeks after than. Last year, I started reading right before falling asleep, reading about 40 or so pages. I am not sure if I like it actually, but it has become a fixture. I kind of enjoy the binge reading, and reading at night seems a bit of a chore unless I’m reading fiction. I’ll give it a bit more time and see how it goes.
Tea — Who can’t use more tea? I have this image of sitting in a tea shop in Saigon being all snobby and reading my paper. I have goals yo! It has now become part of my morning routine (that the wifey has started to help with too). Start up the kettle right after getting out of the shower. By the time I’m dressed, the tea is ready. It has helped to scale back on coffee.
All of these are part of my anchors. It helps me to keep stability in my mind and general mood. It gives me a lot more ease for dealing with the adhoc nature of all that happens through the day and over the course of a crazy few weeks managing various projects which often go astray, it is great to have those fixtures.
The next day will be another new day, with a bit of meditation, yoga, and a cup of tea.
What is a routine or habit that you have that is a fixture?