We all have our own specific routines for work and other habits that we do without having to think too much about them.
What you do when you first wake up in the morning.
How you commute to work.
What you cook for dinner most days.
What you do before going to bed.
How you spend your Friday/Saturday evenings.
While routine helps to bring structure to your day, you can inevitably get too comfortable with this way of living. You begin to feel secure with what you know and go out of your way to avoid learning anything new.
As one saying goes: ‘overexposure to the same stimuli renders said stimuli invisible’.
Exposing yourself to the same stimuli or doing things the same way you’ve always done them, leads to these activities becoming mundane.
You fail to be as present as you once were when first doing these, going through everyday life almost on autopilot, as your mind is distracted by other thoughts (the past, the future, what someone said to you, etc).
Routines must therefore be balanced with the habit of exposing your everyday to regular shocks.
Not only does this expand your perceptual parameters, but it encourages your brain to spend more time diving into its infinite pool of wisdom and creativity.
Here are a few ways you can shake up your routines to introduce more fun and connection with your immediate experiences:
- Regularly change up your workout routines. Doing the same routines each week can get boring and feel like a chore. Keep things exciting and unexpected by integrating variety into your workouts. Rather than just running the same route all the time, mix this up by running a different route, cycling instead or taking up a new sport/class with a friend.
- Do something new/unfamiliar each week. This can be as simple as choosing somewhere new where you live to explore. And when doing so, turn your smartphone to flight mode. Wonder aimlessly and notice what you notice as you connect with your new surroundings and discover places you were previously unaware of. Or perhaps challenging yourself to cook something completely different for dinner and thus exposing yourself to a new recipe in the process.
- Gamify everyday processes. Doing this creates more opportunities for wonder and seeing things as new again. Why not try a different route to work and pay attention to the new things you see? Connect with at least 10 new people at a networking event or friend’s party? Taking pictures of things that catch your eye during the day. Or instead of rushing a task, simply slow down and notice what your senses are telling you.
- Do something you consider yourself bad at. Don’t consider yourself a good cook? Then sign yourself up to a cooking class and cook for your family in the next month. Don’t consider yourself a good singer? Then get a group of friends together and go for a karaoke session. The focus here is not to take things seriously but to enjoy yourself. Who knows, you might even surprise yourself!
- Swap watching TV for people watching and listening to nature. Real life is much more fascinating. Eat your lunch on a bench in the park and take in your surroundings. Watch life unfold around you and again, notice what you notice. Instead of watching TV straight after dinner, go for a stroll in your local park or simply around the block.
- Strike up more conversations with strangers. This can be more fulfilling than you imagine. I’ve met some incredibly interesting people from simply starting a conversation with someone sitting next to me on a flight, the waitress serving me at a restaurant and the family sitting next to us on the bus.
- If you’re stuck for what to do, volunteer. Doing something that is bigger than just you and making a conscious decision to make the world a better place is immensely rewarding. I’ve been doing this since I was in secondary school and get goosebumps every time I hear how I’ve impacted someone’s life.
- Go for a real life vision board over one made of cut-out pictures. Test drive a sports car, rent designer clothing or book a viewing at that beautiful 7-bedroom house in the country. Not only will this show you what’s possible, but it will provide inspiration and focus for your sub conscious.
- Take someone up on an invitation you wouldn’t normally say “Yes” to. When my partner first invited me to go to the spa with her, I couldn’t imagine why people would pay that sort of money for a massage treatment and lying down to calming music. After reluctantly accepting, I came out of the experience feeling as if I was floating and the result is that we now enjoy this together on a regular basis!
Bring excitement into your everyday and notice how much more amazing life can be.