The other day my son Harrison and I were talking about the books he was reading. Like a chip off the old block, he loves to read almost as much as I do (just makes a Dad so proud!). Our discussion about reading was about the variety of genres. I suggested that just like a healthy diet for our bodies includes a variety of healthy foods, so should our mental diet include a healthy variety.
We are all creatures of habit. In fact, some scientists estimate that as much as 90% of our daily routines are things we do by unconscious habit. We just do it because we’ve always done it.
You know when your daily routine has been messed up, don’t you? You feel agitated and out-of-sorts. You think, “I just don’t feel like myself today.” Because you are not yourself: your routines, your habits have been shaken up.
So if unplanned things mess up your routine and make you grumpy, can I propose something else? Instead of waiting for something unexpected to shake up your routine, go ahead and sHAkE it uP on purpose.
Do something far from the norm, completely different, out of the box. Who knows, you may uncover an unhealthy routine that needs to be changed, or you may find there’s something new that you never realized you would have liked so much.
- Instead of reading the same books by the same authors, grab something new.
- …or try nonfiction instead of fiction, or classic instead of contemporary.
- Instead of watching TV after dinner, go for a walk.
- …or play Monopoly with your family.
- Instead of going to your usual spot for lunch, brown bag it and eat outside on the grass.
- …or fast your lunch and spend the lunch hour in quiet meditation.
- Instead of sitting in the same seat at church, sit in a different section.
- …or make a rotating plan to sit somewhere new every month.
- Instead of allowing the same topics to trigger an argument with your spouse, find a new way to handle the emotion.
- …or read a book together to help you resolve the issue.
- Instead of returning your empty pop cans to buy more pop, donate the cash to charity.
- …or find a cause your whole family can support together.
- Instead of scooping ice cream at home, take a family walk to the ice cream shop.
- …or buy popsicles for all the neighborhood kids when the ice cream truck rolls by.
- Make breakfast for dinner
- Listen to the music your kids like or your parents like
- Ride your bike to work
- Visit a museum
- Watch a black-and-white movie
sHAkE it uP!!
As Mark Twain said, “Take your mind out every now and then and dance on it. It is getting all caked up.”
I’d love to hear about your adventures in shaking up your routines. What are you going do to sHAkE it uP this week?