Back in the Groove

Although over these last two weeks I have missed writing, today, as I start again, it is proving difficult to get back into a routine. It’s the same with the gym. Instead, I found a thousand other things to do. I’m not yet back in the grove. I need to get myself back into those tram lines.

So much of our lives are controlled by habit it is sometimes difficult to change. Routine and habit are comfortable. We know what to expect. We feel organised and in control. Lucinda has put the mighty Bertie into a strict routine which has led to her having some of her life back as both know when he will sleep.

These thoughts have come about after two weeks of talking with Sasha about our future. If any of our plans come to fruition it will be a significant change for both of us. Along the way, there will be disruptions and dislocations to manage. It matters not one jot if we end up in Kiev or the UK, or even if we carry on this very long-distance relationship, our comfortable routines will change.

So, I put the phrase is routine good for us into the internet search engine and on the first two pages there were a series of articles extolling the virtues of early morning routines, work routines, tips of routines to sleep better and the ‘daily routines of 7 famous entrepreneurs’. The consensus of the advice is that routine is always good. It wasn’t a good omen for us.

There was only one article that seemed to question the alternative that maybe routines are confining as well as being comforting. I read that one. I can summarise it for you. It says that if they are good habits then they are good but if the routines support bad habits, like smoking or drug taking, they are bad routines.  So, it wasn’t really offering an alternative opinion.

It seems it is left to me to question the value of living by too many routines.

The principle argument that routines relieve you of minor decision making, freeing your brain for bigger issues is codswallop.

OK, I have an early, first thing in the morning, routine but that is purely to allow me time to take the pile of early morning drugs before I do something else. That will survive while Sasha does her yoga and meditation.

Even in those first tentative moments at the start of each day, without a routine, I can make decisions on what to wear. I can even decide what I want to eat. Those decisions do nothing to my ability to take in the world’s news and ‘bigger issues’.

I do tend to write at the same times and go to the gym in the afternoon but that is just planning, and I don’t get agitated if my schedule changes. In fact, some days I even enjoy the challenge of meeting deadlines on a different timetable.

But there are far more important reasons to avoid becoming routine bound.

Last year I wrote about being lucky and how you can change your own luck. Based on academic research one of the ways to be luckier is to vary your routine and going out of your way to do things differently. Changing your old routines could make you luckier.

I am sure we all know the quotes and its variations that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. There are too many people complaining that they are not lucky and not getting what they want out of their life. But, why should anything improve if they are still locked into old routines?

If Sasha and I continue to have a meaningful relationship, and I hope we do, the patterns in our lives must change. Being together more frequently, let alone living together, will drive change. All our own personal routines and practices will be disrupted and changed. We must make accommodating change our norm.

But there is nothing unique in our situation and it’s not really a big deal. I think of Lucinda and the mighty Bertie, and Sasha’s sister Ann and her husband Daniel with their new baby, Michael. Now, having a new baby in the family is a real change.

Nearly always the best and sadly also the worst times are a consequent of major change. So, there is one piece of advice, once given to me, that I would like to pass on. Whenever a friend, colleague or partner suggests a new idea makes saying yes, your first reaction. If you say no, you will never be asked again, but if you say yes, you will always have the chance to change your mind later.