I am not a fan of routine. Or at least, I wasn't. For as long as I can remember I have held on to the story that I was not a person of routine, that I wanted and needed spontaneity in my life. Recently that story has changed. And it's been a hard thing to own, because all my rantings about the rigidity of routine and how unnecessary it is are now moot. In fact, I have become grateful, and now rely on, my morning routine.
Since October I have been going to the gym. I had known for some time that our primary business (for those of you that may not know, it is ESSENTIALdharma, the doTERRA Essential Oil distributorship Keri and I own) could be doing better, and that part of that growth meant I had to look at all areas of my life and see where they could be improved. The resounding one that stood out to me was my physical fitness and self care. Other areas needed improvement as well, but my own physical fitness and movement was the top one. So I dove into that. I reached out to one of my mentors and he guided me through a three day a week workout......routine. Ugh.
But, we do what we say we are going to do, as you've read here before, and the abundance I can share when our business grows means it is important enough to me, to lean into that dislike of a routine if it means I get to grow. We have to learn to lean in if we want to move forward. And so I did. I started going three days a week - Monday | Wednesday | Friday. And it sucked. It was hard. Some days I had to really convince myself it was worth it. And there were days I didn't go in those first 8 weeks. I let the negative thoughts and the justifications get the best of me. And if I am being honest, I was kind of 'ok' with it. I was ok with not doing what I said I would because I was justifying my behavior.
And then something shifted. In my daily journaling I was reflecting on gratitude, and the things that I am grateful for. I realized in that moment that the days I am the most present and mindful of the good in my life, the most grateful, are also the days I work out. I don't know if it is the increased breathing, the elevated heart rate or just the time alone with my thoughts where I am intentionally working to become a better version of me that created that space, but it was clear that the days that I started my day with movement and physical activity were markedly better then those where I didn't. And that's when the routine became a thing.
I reevaluated my morning and set my alarm for 6:30am. I would be out of the house by 6:45. At the gym by 7:00. I discovered the rowing machine, battle ropes and box jumps among other various ways to challenge my strength and fitness. Now instead of 3 days a week I am going 4 and often 5 days a week. And then, inspired by another mentor and dear friend of mine, I agreed to do a Spartan Super. 8 miles of hills and obstacles to test your mettle against no one else but yourself. And so now I have a routine; a real routine and something to train towards. Not just to improve me and to inadvertently grow my business, but a thing that would really challenge my own physical fitness. Most days I get up, go to the gym, take my supplements and journal before I start my day. And those days are the best days. I have increased mental clarity, increased strength and endurance and a generally more positive attitude towards everything. It impacts how I eat, how I sleep, and I now find myself looking forward to going to the gym when less than 6 months ago it was among the least favorite things on my calendar.
The Spartan is in May, the same month that Keri and I intend to hit a major business goal that has been three years in the making. In no way do I think that these two goals aligning at the same time is coincidental. In fact, i am now reevaluating my business practices to see where and how I can implement a more intentional and defined routine to that. Because what I have discovered for myself is what Brendon Burchard has often said - I'd rather rely on good habits, than good luck.
If you are like me and find yourself without a routine, or just opposed to the idea in general, I would invite you to change that story. There is still plenty of room for spontaneity and randomness in my days. Currently my wife and I are in the very last few weeks, maybe days of her pregnancy and I may not get to the gym first thing, I may need to tend to other things that morning and so I will go in the afternoon. Or the kids need me late into the night before and so I go later in the day. But I go. On the days that I don't go so my body can rest, I still supplement, journal and do light stretching and breathing to maintain the rhythm. I keep as much of the routine in tact as I can because it is in fact the thing that sets the day in motion for the most productive and gratitude filled days I have.