If you're a human, a routine is good for you! The human brain loves routines because it can “power down” a bit when you are doing something that is repetitive. It doesn’t matter if the repeat cycle is once a day, or once a week or even once a month.
But, to me, a routine can become a rut in the blink of an eye.
One day you are all fired up by your morning routine and reading your anthem, and the next day, you are reciting the words to your anthem while making a list of all the things you should be doing instead of reading your anthem.
Or is that just me?
If you feel like parts of your life have become predictable, unfulfilling, or boring, maybe it’s time for a fresh start. Deciding to make a change doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down, but it is an opportunity to stand back and revise your current way of life.
I like to call this “tweaking” your life. Not a major change, just something different to move you and your life in a positive direction so you can generate more positive emotions. And who doesn’t need a little more positivity in their life?
Whether it’s a lifestyle, location, or career change, there are some simple things you can do right now to get out of that rut and get some positive energy back into your life.
Have you ever sat down and ruminated about what makes you happy? What lifts your spirits and puts a spring in your step? What makes your heart sing and your energy levels skyrocket? Some people feel happiest out in nature, while others prefer sports or reading. Maybe you love the arts or helping people. Make a list of what makes you happy and take action so you can focus on bringing more joy into your life.
This can be an ever-changing, list, too. I used to be a pretty passionate gardener when I bought my first house in 1992. I would spend hours in the winter learning about soil, sun requirements, pests, clay soil and what would grow in it, and about landscape plants. Then, from spring until fall, I’d be outside ALL THE TIME! Planting, weeding, staking, and spraying. I was a garden fanatic.
Things changed, though. I still enjoy gardening, but I’m not quite so frenetic about it. I like to be in “natural” nature more than a carefully landscaped yard now. My tastes have changed.
And that’s OK. What lit you up when you were a kid or even a young adult might not be the thing now. Go with what lights you up currently.
Most people are so busy with the everyday life that they don’t make time to get out of their comfort zone and do something different. When was the last time you tried something new or challenging? Be open to new experiences, start saying yes to yourself, and choose to do things that feel good.
I have to admit, my default is “no”. It’s that brain of mine telling me that everything is fine the way it is, so why change anything? I can’t let it win, at least not all the time. Recently, I bought tickets to a cocktail event about a month ahead of time. The event, Talk Derby to Me, was the night before the Kentucky Derby.
I am so glad I spent that money! If I hadn’t had a financial reason to go, I probably wouldn't have gone at all. It was an outdoor event and it was pretty cold and windy that day, and I REALLY didn’t want to go. But because I had made the decision a month prior, plunked down cold, hard, cash, I decided to go anyway.
I had SO much fun! It was in a protected place, so no wind and they had big heaters around, so it wasn’t cold. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in ages, met some new people, re-engaged with former work acquaintances and just generally enjoy myself. Of course, the great food and superb cocktails didn’t hurt either!
The point being that I had to set up my circumstances so that I said yes. Had I waited until I “felt” like going, I never would have gone. And I would have missed out on some truly excellent fascinators on the women!
Once you start saying yes to the things that feel good, you need to practice saying no... You need a stop doing list! You’re probably well aware of the bad habits you’ve fallen into and the things you do that don’t bring you joy. While there are some things you have no control over, see what energy-draining tasks you can eliminate from your life. Write a list to remind yourself of the things you can choose not to do and free up time for the things that make your heart soar.
Or maybe it’s not a total Stop Doing list, but a Stop Doing It So Often List! I like putting almost all housekeeping chores on this list! Maybe you’re only one multi-pack of socks and underwear away from monthly laundry day. A large percentage of the world lives in houses with dirt floors. Do you really need to sweep yours every day?
Be creative. What do you feel like you "hafta do" that can be reduced, delegated out, or just deleted from you life entirely?
Most people have way too much stuff in their lives. Look around you right now and see what’s holding you back. Clutter includes spending hours scrolling through social media, limiting beliefs, and bad lifestyle habits as well as all that junk in the kitchen drawer.
I work on my limiting beliefs every day through journaling. I use James Clear’s Atomic Habits book as my bible for habit making or breaking. But I love to declutter the physical stuff. Ask my husband and children; I am a declutter fanatic. (Maybe decluttering my home after 25+ years has replaced my gardening habit…hmmm….I have to journal about that tomorrow…)
I like to shop and I have a big house, but I have reached maximum capacity, and I have been on a big decluttering kick this year. Every storage area of my house has a month allocated to it to go through and get rid of things. I mean, seriously, do I still need my son’s gerbil aquarium in that attic? He’s 23 years old, for Pete’s sake, and much more likely to get a dog than little furry rodents!
If your life, or just a part of you life, is feeling a little meh lately, use one of more of these tips to spice things up a bit. Your brain won’t want to because change is hard and scary, but don’t let it win. Make a commitment to yourself to take back control of your life and leap into a fresh start.
Even if it’s just a tiny tweak.
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: What do you call a chameleon that can’t change colors? A reptile dysfunction!