I am in the middle of reading “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin. You might have heard of her book: “The Happiness Project” which I read last year. “Happier at Home” brings The Happiness Project to her home, where she looks for ways to make her life happier with a specific focus on her home. She breaks it up into different areas she wants to focus on each month. One of the areas that resonated with me while reading over the weekend was her section on routine.
Usually I have a love/hate feeling about routines. Part of me loves the competition I have with myself to stick to a routine. Part of me feels like it makes me completely boring, dull, and unadventurous to follow a routine each day. I have quite a few routines. I have a green smoothie every morning. I eat basically the same lunch everyday. I go crazy if I do not get a run in each day. I like to stay up-to-date on my email as much as possible. An overflowing inbox makes me feel out of whack. For some reason these so-called routines that I have help me feel like I have just a bit more control over something in my life, when so many of the other aspects of life I have no control over. This all came into my thought after reading this quote from Rubin’s book:
“Routine doesn’t deserve its bad reputation. It’s true that novelty and challenge bring happiness, and that people who break their routines, try new things, and go to new places are happier, but routine can also bring happiness. The pleasure of doing the same thing, in the same way, every day, shouldn’t be overlooked. The things I do every day take on a certain beauty and provide a kind of invisible architecture to my life. Andy Warhol wrote, ‘Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more’.” page 147
In my own way my routine does bring me happiness. I can do these specific things in my life and not have to overly think about them. I do not have to agonize over what to make for breakfast or lunch. I feel so much calmer and collected after my run. These routines ground me. They bring a balance to my life and that makes me happier.
What do you think? Does routine bring you happiness, or does it feel like it drags you down?