I am learning a lot about people by teaching group fitness and one thing I discovered recently is that people just love their usual routines. People like to have their classes set and their gym times confirmed, so much so that it's as if the decision is already made and no longer up for debate. You can see people's commitment to working out is supported by the regularity of their routine. I guess we really are, as my dad likes to say, creatures of habit.
It can be great when your routine is working for you but overwhelming when it's not. Take a look at your usual routines and ask yourself whether they are really in your best interest. The January "New Year, New You" boost is over and we're not quite into spring yet when there's a planetary momentum to get recharged (join me in VT!), so you may have fallen into a few behaviors, patterns and routines that are not very healthy. Think for a moment about what you've established for yourself with regularity and frequency.
If something is not bringing you what you want or doesn't feel good, ultimately, let it go. Thank it for its usefulness. Set the intention to choose a new action. Make one small change today and let that be your positive affirmation in action!
I've written about something I call the discomfort bridge. When you break a routine and start something new, you may with each step feel like you're crossing a very rickety and wobbly bridge. Not the easiest thing to endure, a little scary, but a very necessary part of growth. You can move along a step at at time. If you can just trust that discomfort bridge for a little while, it will take you to exactly where you need to be next. It's not even up to you to know where that next place is. Faith alone that you're leaving a certain starting point for a more fruitful destination is good enough.
Speaking of fruit, I recently broke out of a usual routine that was no longer working for me. It was a familiar one. I want a relationship and was seeing someone who doesn't. Still, I had my heart in this and felt, thought, hoped it could be the seed of a beautiful relationship tree! But, alas, it didn't sprout. Or, it wasn't sprouting at my pace. Or, the seed was sprouting into an apple tree seed and I wanted mangoes. Yeah, we're taking a very sweet, nutrient dense, healthy fruit of a relationship that's protected by a strong outer shell and is capable of creating new life thanks to its large pit. Refreshing. Messy (how human!). Found in warm climates. Yes, I'm looking for a relationship with someone that puts the man in mangoes.
So, moving from food science to chemistry, what happens after you initiate a break from your usual routine? There is a shift in energy. Remember it takes energy to break bonds so you may feel defeated or depleted when you break a routine. That definitely describes my last month but I've given myself time to feel it all and my energy is returning. The First Law of Thermodynamics says energy can be transformed from one form to another but it cannot be created or destroyed. The energy has got to go somewhere and this is good news.
Your usual routine, when broken, gives you energy to put into a NEW ROUTINE. If you don't keep that energy flowing, however, you're going to turn in on yourself and spend a lot of time on the couch, in bed, or putting that energy into behaviors that are not healthy.
At times like this, it's so important to call up your capacity for being gentle with yourself. It is called a "break" for a reason and any disruption -- even one that has you moving from a familiar place to one that is even more amazing, extraordinary, enriching and abundant -- is more than just uncomfortable. It is scary. What's the best antidote for fear? Love. What's one of the best ways to love yourself? Taking healthy, loving actions. You always have the choice to take special, sweet care of yourself.
So much good awaits you in the new.