I love routine. Yep, I really thrive on developing patterns or routine or habits or…ok I’ll say it…creating excel spread sheets. My tummy got butterflies just now thinking about the divine excel spread sheets I have created. Really - I have an excel spreadsheet I created so many years ago with my ‘daily living’ habits. I don’t even know how old it is. And here’s a little secret…I still have the chart I created when my children were little and I was home schooling. I loved that chart. It was handwritten and oh so effective. It even had “quiet time” and “laundry” and “movie” on it. Every now and then I look at it and I want to show it to my daughters and say “See, this is what you need to keep your wild animals in check”. No, I have never said that. They have however asked me to make “Daily Living” charts for them and their families numerous times. And being the chart lover I am I actually do it and well. .. I am sure you can imagine where it ends up after a few weeks of laying around getting spills on it and crumbled up. Not one of my daughters has ever reported success from my Daily Living charts I have made them. Oh well, their loss.
I really believe developing good habits requires creating a routine and paves the road to successful living, meaning less stress, more ease.
When I worked in radiology at a local hospital I was considered the best in training new hires. Why? Because I created a pattern of what to do in a certain order so as to develop six steps to completion. That way when a doctor came looking for an x-ray we would know exactly at any given step what has happened already and what is about to happen. No guess work, no wondering if this was done or still yet to be done. The others would train that of the six steps four of them could be done in any order.
Probably the most interesting thing about my abiding love for routine and habits and patterns and charts and spreadsheets is my complete commitment to consciously breaking routine on a regular basis. Up to nine times a week I consciously break my routine so as to keep my brain malleable. As described by Wikipedia:
Malleability of intelligence describes the processes by which human intelligence may be augmented through changes in neuroplasticity. These changes may come as a result of genetics, psychological factors, behavior, or environmental conditions.
You might not be surprised to find out I actually put it on the chart too. I call it – ‘diversion’ on my chart. So what does that look like? Well, I mopped the kitchen at 4 AM - once I did my errands in a zig zag meaning one on the right side of the road and one on the left and then again on the right, ( that was so painful I guess I will do it again soon). Yes you guessed it; I do all my errands on the right side of the road with no back tracking. Or I take a cold shower instead of hot or I go without sleep for 36 hours or I sit in a room with absolutely NO distractions for an hour or something as simple as doing some of my items out of order. It is very stimulating and invigorating and a little or a lot challenging. It requires a level of alertness for sure. The way I see it I will do something with each moment of my day so I choose to do something consciously meaningful.
Something else really vital about my chart is it gets updated pretty regularly. I discover new healthy things and add them. I allow more freedom in some things like instead of listing the name of some kind of exercise like ‘walk’ I will simply say “move body” Or I will add something like DYBO until it becomes a habit. And if something is as much of a habit as brushing my teeth then that will be removed. No, I never put brushing my teeth on the chart. And I might as well tell you after all these years I still have “water” on the chart and still fall short.
One of the things I love about being involved with the BraveHeart Women community is I have support in exactly this as I never did all those 30 something years previously. We are committed to creating new synapses and neuropathways and myelin and patterns and imprints and changing our lives and the world in which we live. And now with the 2020 Vision mentoring program we have embarked upon we get ideas from one another not to mention excellent guidance from our dear sister Ellie.
Nothing is boring about a spreadsheet for healthy living with some conscious diversion built in for me.