I left this morning to Edmonton, Alberta on a business trip thinking that this would be just another routine start to my day. I routinely fly out from the Vancouver International Airport which takes me just over an hour in pulsating traffic and includes many stressful moments driving in the morning rush hour.
However, this time I flew out from the Abbotsford airport which is about equidistance as Vancouver International and also eastbound rather than west. On occasion, I have flown out from Abbey but due to their limited flight schedule, I’m more likely stuck to fly out of Vancouver International, fighting in traffic, parking and long frustrating lines at security.
On my way into Abbey, I was cruising an easy 120km/hr on the highway admiring the beautiful backdrop of dense green trees, lush farmland and towering mountains, most notably Mount Baker. Within 40 minutes, I had arrived, parked my car and was well on my way past security. I was so far ahead of schedule, I even had time for breakfast at their little cafeteria and with a smile on my face.
I had a Zenful moment sitting at the airport sipping away at my coffee. I suddenly remembered how valuable it is to change up my routines every now and then.
How often have you driven to work and thought to yourself, “Oh! I’m here already?!” or perhaps you didn’t even recall much about your commute because your mind has been running routinely on autopilot.
There’s nothing wrong with routine. It’s a great way to keep ourselves disciplined and focused if we have a task at hand to accomplish. However, routine can numb us from what surrounds us. The mundane events drown out some of the greater pleasures that we take for granted.
One of the benefits of my job is that I get to travel across the country a few times a month. And every time I return to Vancouver, I feel refreshed to view my beautiful city once again. It’s like clicking “refresh” on my computer!
If you have some routines in your life that are flexible to change, take advantage of it! In fact, especially those routines that aren’t so flexible, I encourage you to give it a try to change it up once in a while. Those hard-to-change routines are the killers in our minds because it has us so wound up that if we don’t follow through with it, our days feel off. Challenge yourself to change up those ones and liberate yourself. When you empower yourself to change even the simplest things, you give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow.
Here’s 5 routines that I change up once in a while to feel refreshed:
- My commute. I have a few different routes I use to get to work. Sometimes I even take public transit!
- Breakfast. Most of the time it’s my favorite, soft boiled eggs and Mini-Wheats and sometimes it’s a protein shake and yogurt. And once in a while, I indulge in a full on lumberjack breakfast with greasy sausages, sunny side up eggs, crispy bacon, hashbrowns, toast and coffee.
- My workouts. I’m a regular at the community center boot-camp class every weekday at 6am. Every now and then, I’ll skip that class to swim, yoga, spin or play basketball. I might even throw a rest day somewhere in there.
- The music I listen to. I’m more of an easy-listening kind of guy. I enjoy my pop music, but once in a while I enjoy random tunes on Spotify by Indie bands. And other times, I feel nostalgic and will bring out my Cure and A-ha collection.
- Who I spend time with. I have many great friends who I hang out with. Most of the time, it’s with my buddy Vince and his family and always have a blast laughing, joking and sharing stories together. Once in a while, I’ll change it up and have some friends over for board games or call up some other good friends whom I don’t see very often. When I spend time with different groups of friends, my mind expands and allows me to bring more to the table when I meet up with them again.
What are some routines you might want to change every now and then? Here’s some ideas:
- What you decide to cook for dinner.
- Your choice of drinks when you go out.
- Your route when you take your dog for a walk.
- The positions in sex you have with your partner.
- The day of the week you go grocery shopping.
- Take a bath instead of a shower.
- Instead of coffee, try having some tea (I know…this is a hard one for me too!)
- What you do before you go to bed (ie. TV, use of phone, reading)
- The side of the bed you sleep on.
- Wait a little longer before doing the dishes (take some time to reminisce about dinner)
- Driving your kids or partner to school or work.
- Spending time with your partner instead of your friends every Friday night (or vice versa)
By changing our routines, our minds expand and view things from a different perspective, allowing us to feel more refreshed. We have the opportunity to view things differently and learn something new along the way. We begin collecting new information and experiences to add to the list of things we already know and makes us an even more interesting person. In addition, when life gets in a rut, changing routines can offer a different outlook and a solution may present itself when you least expect it. Albert Einstein once said, “insanity is doing something over and over again, expecting a different result.”
There’s so many other routines that I’m sure you can think about changing. The silver lining is if it doesn’t work out for you, you can always go back to your routines!
Have fun with this!