Routine always gets a bad rap, but for my entire life I've been very big fan. I was that weird kid who loved having a routine. Starting in sixth grade, I got up and made myself the exact same thing for breakfast every morning. For several years of my life, I would wear my clothes on a rotating basis - each day I would wear the shirt and the pair of pants at the front of my closet (assuming that they matched). When I was done, they would get shuffled to the back. Having a routine was my jam.
Lately, though, I feel like I've been really bad at routine. Which has got me thinking about the point of routine in the first place. Routine is often viewed as the driver behind a mundane life. But I would argue against that. I think well-chosen routines are exactly what allows us to have rich and varied lives.
Case in point: I save a lot of time by getting my morning routine down to a science. By repeatedly showering, putting my makeup on, and eating breakfast in the same way, I open up additional time that I use to pick out my clothes. Because I've made the non-exciting parts of my day as efficient as possible, I have a few extra minutes to enjoy myself while I try to put together an outfit. Maybe it's a small thing, but I treasure those extra minutes of creativity every morning.
The same concept can be attributed to working out. I used to think that routine in exercise was the worst thing in the world. And in some respects, it is. If you do the same exercises day in, day out, they won't have the intended effect. However, routine can be a good thing if you can find a routine that incorporates variety. For instance, the summer before my senior year of college, I got in the routine of exercising five days a week. Every weekday morning I would go to the gym, no exceptions. When I was there, though, I always changed things up - some weeks I would try cycling classes, others pilates classes, others step classes. During days in the interim I would go on long runs, then do sprint workouts, and then maybe try yoga. I set up a system that made variety possible, and I was healthier because of it.
Lately, I've become determined to become a "regular" at the 6AM classes at my Crossfit gym. I try to go every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. And you know what? The more I've turned it into a routine, the more I've enjoyed it. Every week I go I meet a few more people, which means I feel a little more comfortable there the next week. The social aspect has become very fun for me, rather than very scary like it used to be. Knowing that I'll be strengthening friendships when I show up has become a major motivator for getting out of bed. Do I still hate the first ten minutes after my alarm goes off at 5:20? Dear Lord, yes. But I'm working through it. I want to make Crossfit a routine, and I think I'm getting close!
Please don't think that I have routine nailed, though. You know what the next big frontier is? The weekend. I used to be great at working out on the weekends. Lately, though, I haven't gone on a Saturday or Sunday run in months. Ditto for yoga classes - I just stopped trying. Why drag yourself to yoga class when you can laze around in bed until 11AM? It's crazy how quickly you can fall out of a routine - skip a few weekend workouts, and you may never go back. This weekend, however, I'm pledging to myself and all my lovely readers that I will do a workout of some kind, whether it's Crossfit, running, or yoga. If weekend workouts are something you struggle with too, let me know - we can keep each other honest!
Yesterday, my friends, was anything but routine. At shopkick we launched a new version of our app, which meant that everyone came to the office really early in the morning. I showed up at 7:15, and most people had been there since 6:00. Was it exhausting? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes, without a doubt. I find it hard to believe that any other company walks the line between demanding great work and ensuring great happiness in quite the same way that shopkick does. Yesterday, despite being a 12-hour day, was one of those days that makes me thankful to be where I am. And what could feel better than that?
Have a great Thursday!