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How Well Do You Manage When Your Routine Changes?

Small and not-so-small changes in your routine can create either a speed bump or a bumpy road effect on your life. What do you do when that happens?

Quite a number of people I know experienced major life changes just before 2011, and after the year began. Were you one of them? Significant shifts and lesser ones create something in common: a change in routine of greater or lesser degree.

Often, we struggle a bit (or a lot) with even one small or moderate change to our routine. We become used to or complacent about our routines, even ones we are not necessarily happy about, or ones that may even cause us to feel miserable about ourselves or our lives.

Routines FEEL easier because they are familiar. They can be followed practically by rote, like how an experienced driver vs. a new one focuses on the act of driving and doing other things at the same time. Some routines help us stay organized and on time. Some prevent spontaneity in our days and lives, cause us to be inflexible. Some create negative or unpleasant outcomes.

Routines are why New Year’s resolutions are forgotten, or if not forgotten, not fulfilled. Sticking with even one change to a routine can feel difficult, even if it is desired. It can take a while before the new behavior feels and is as automatic as the old one was. It takes persistence and consistency to arrive at this point.

My relocation move and temporary dwelling eliminated nearly all of my routines. Unlike vacations or family visits where your routine being temporarily interrupted is a welcome change (hopefully), I had to accept and allow there was no return “home,” no return to most of what was familiar ahead of me. I’m fortunate that my arrangements were as favorable as they were. Others have had to start over after significant, devastating losses. My understanding of what that must be like for them has deepened.

The metaphysical or spiritual community often mentions surrender. When significant change occurs, how well you manage becomes a matter of how well you surrender your resistance to what now is, and go forward from there. It is a matter of surrender or suffer if you insist on resisting.

I realized the best approach for me was to surrender to the fact that so much of what was familiar and routine no longer existed; to observe what creates frustration and to look at that with self-honesty; and to notice which changes actually improve or enhance my daily and personal experiences. This requires self-honesty as well. It could be so easy to return to many of my previous routines (or reject new ones; temporary or not); and some of that, frankly, could easily block positive opportunities and desired outcomes from coming to me.

I pay attention to how much of my former routine should be included as I move forward, and how much of whom I’ve believed myself to be, as a result of my former routine, needs to be kept or discarded. It’s important I be true to my nature; but I need to be clear what the differences are between my true nature and my programmed beliefs or habitual routines. Keeping this in mind is helping me to manage myself through this transformative time. I also watch the stories I tell myself and use tools that I know work, to help me adjust my attitude and perceptions so that I open to desired opportunities and experiences.

Whether or not you are going through a change in your routine at this time, how you manage yourself through such a time is worthy of a few moments of your consideration. It can make the difference between being in flow or being stuck in resistance.

You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer

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