Friday, January 25, 2013

Routine: Friend or Foe?

I've been no stranger to sharing here that I have a certain type of personality. Call it what you will; Type A, particular, a planner, a sucker for consistency, a need for control. A beast of many names.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this part of me. This need to be one step ahead. Well, to be honest, one step ahead of the person who is already one step ahead. This constant need for constant. The challenging part is distinguishing the role that these personality traits play in my life. Positive or negative? Good or bad? Friend or foe?

My argument has always been quite simple; friend. Routine keep us structured. Accountable. In line. Routine and consistency are the reasons I can keep my work week in line, how I manage stress, how I keep from imploding. It helps me make small strides towards larger goals. Consistency keeps me accountable to my running schedule, gives me a step by step guide of how to train and prepare for a race. Planning saves me a trip to the grocery store everyday, it keeps me well rested, and ahead of the game; in short, its keeps my world turning.

But what happens when your good friend turns on you? When routine doesn't make you happy, and productive, and in line with the world's plan for you? When planning becomes over planning, when analyzing becomes over analyzing? When you begin to force all of your daily activities, and your actions become inauthentic and ingenuine? When you begin following the routine plan, and stop listening to yourself?

I've learned, like most things in life, it's not black and white. To achieve balance you cannot be Type A in all aspects of your life. Your personal and professional life just won't survive. The very definition of balance tells us that you can't carry all that weight on your shoulders. It must be equally distributed.

So, I challenge all of you, as I challenge myself, to correct one inauthentic routine or behavior. To break a "bad" routine. To think twice before going into autopilot, and evaluate a need for change in just one behavior in your daily life. Make your life, your work, your relationship, more passionate and more alive by seeking change somewhere you find you're unhappy or in need of a boost.

Routine is always going to be a friend and a foe, an angel and a devil; the challenge is recognizing the routine behaviors that just don't work for you anymore, and taking steps to turn them into more positive, more fulfilling behaviors. Because, hey, it's got to be better than what you're doing!

Change is the only constant, right? But don't have a panic attack Type A'ers, just think of it as planning to be unplanned for awhile..

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