My son Timothy has always been busy, or “hyper-active” as people called it. It meant that as mother I had to be on my toes; have eyes in the back of my head and always be one step ahead of him. As a toddler, one thing managed his energy better than anything else: a strict routine. It seemed that the more we had a fixed routine that allowed him to know exactly what was supposed to happen next, the lower his levels of anxiety and the less energy he demonstrated. This experience has led me to believe in the value of routine.
The holiday season is an opportunity to get out of our regular routine, but this week I am sure that many of us are looking forward to a “more normal routine” to start again. There is a certain comfort in getting back to the familiar day-to-day operations of life.
Routine is a series of habits or activities, performed as part of regular procedure, which allow us to function through familiar tasks on auto-pilot, not requiring much decision-making, lending a type of predictability to life.
A good routine can be liberating, the comfort of a routine (structures put into place that we know are good for us) allows us to free our minds and thinking to focus on the more important matters of life, rather than: when to wake, when to get up, what to wear, what do I need for the day, do I have time for breakfast, when do I exercise today etc.
In contrast an unhealthy routine can: waste time in decision-making, lead to unfortunate mistakes, affect your health and generally make a negative start to the day as you: push the snooze button, wonder what to wear, frantically run around looking for your stuff, skip breakfast and probably a shower and rush through the traffic to work.
Each individual has their own routine they have developed for themselves, but we don’t often question if our routines are contributing to a purposeful, meaningful daily experience. I came across the word ‘circumspect’ in 1 Peter 1:13 (AMP)
“So brace up your minds; be sober (circumspect, morally alert); set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is revealed”.
As I look at building some momentum to this year, the Lord has reminded me to be circumspect about how I live my life, paying attention to good basics. A good routine is a fine place to start building the foundation of this year.
I have evaluated my routine and asked myself a few questions listed below. I have also added some of my thoughts on these to share with you.
- What can I build into my routine to bring greater order and predictability into my life? Can I set out what I will need for the next day the night before, including de-frosting food, milk or bread. Plan the next day’s meal while making supper. Charge the cell phone. During bed time routine review the next day’s activity.
- What can I build in that will make contributions to my overall health and stress levels? Fixed wake and bed times. Getting ready for bed 45 min before lights out and setting out the next day’s clothes. Drink water when I wake up and at every meal. Exercise first thing, then shower. Don’t start the days work until you have had a devotion. Plan the week on Sunday nights. Take medication at breakfast. Church as routine on Sundays.
- Can I build things into my routine to protect myself from my self-destruct impulses? (We all have those if we are honest with ourselves). Make tomorrows lunches after supper, checking that healthy snacks are available in the fridge. Set the breakfast table before retiring or delegate it. Only watch recorded TV programs, no channel surfing. No reading in bed if it disturbs your sleep. Switch TV off 45 minutes before lights out.
- Can I build some good rest and relaxation into my routine to ensure that I am not so frazzled before my next holiday? Half hour feet up before I start making supper. No technology after 8pm for the whole family. Grocery shop once a week on a fixed day instead of going to the shops often. Quiet Sunday evenings, no catching up on work. One early night per week to give that little extra I look for on weekends.
- What can I build into my routine to boost my creativity, by putting some activities onto auto-pilot? Make a list of possible meals for the next while and work through the list. Do half hour of tidy-up after supper while family packs dishwasher. Feed the pets at your own mealtimes.
A few positive changes built into your routine can totally change the direction and quality of your life. Ask yourself what activity added to your routine would bring the greatest benefit to you and make a plan to gradually add it to your daily or weekly pattern.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
God has work for us to do, with His plan and purpose. Surely a good routine would contribute to our readiness to embrace the activities of each day in a way that would glorify the Lord. If you have good ideas for changes to routine, why not share with us, by making a comment below.
Lord, help me to be circumspect about how I live my day-to-day life. Help me to develop a routine that positions me to be more effective each day in living my life for You. Help me to make positive changes that result in creativity, energy and clarity of mind.
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