Routine, Routine! Wherefore Art Thou Routine?

I like routine.

I like predictability.

I’m not so good with spontaneity.

Flexibility is NOT my middle name.

Yes, I admit it – I’m a control freak.  And I like to control my own life, thank you very much.

And my own routine.

And maybe the aspect of my life where I am most dependent on my routine is with my healthy living efforts.  You know that expression – “It’s a lifestyle?”  Well… lifestyle… routine… habits… see my point?

My “healthy lifestyle” is, much like me, not surprisingly, not very flexible.  I can adapt.  I can change.  Somewhat.  Sometimes.  To some extent.  But for the most part, staying on track requires routine.  Or, at least, I THINK it does.  And, as with much thinking, that probably makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Routine – check.  Disruption to routine – eek!

If a wrench is thrown in the works, I do my best to adapt, accommodate, modify, work around, revise, tweak, adjust, readjust, roll with the punches, rather than being completely knocked down and dragged out.  Life is unpredictable; routines are broken; sh*t stuff happens; change is inevitable.  But I don’t have to like it!  You can’t make me like it!

What I like is routine.  Mine.  Like a consistent time when I can exercise.  (Which of course assumes I can exercise at all, but right now, still no cardio, dag blast it!)  And meals at home.  And not being away from my own refrigerator and pantry when I really, really, really want an “on plan” snack.  Unexpected days spent elsewhere can throw my best intentions for a loop.  Parties and holidays and dinners out might bounce me off the wagon into a huge binge of crappy food.  Vacations often become vacations from healthy eating and challenges for finding ways and time to exercise.

Give me routine!  Give me a fighting chance to hang onto the habits that I’ve worked so hard to build.

I know I could handle this better.  Should handle this better.  This reaction to disruption in my life.  Add it to my long list of things I “know” but now need to “do.”  I get it – life is unpredictable.  And uncontrollable.  Much as I’d like it to be otherwise.  And I find it ironic that I often complain about how boring my life is when that very boredom is exactly what allows my typical routine to remain typical!

How do you feel about routine?  Spontaneity?  What interruption to your life would you welcome today?

Note:  I haven’t had an opportunity yet to write about my little excitement, but I promise I will.  (This post was drafted last week, in response to a whole slew of disruptions!)  And, if you’d like to read a great post with an optimistic approach to “routine,” or the lack thereof, read what Cammy wrote.






Filed under emotions/emotional issues, influence of others, lifestyle

56 responses to “Routine, Routine! Wherefore Art Thou Routine?

  1. Karen, that’s hilarious cos my latest post (going up tomorrow) is also about routine. Well the fact I’ve been lacking it this week… but surviving.

    Great minds etc etc…


  2. Routine makes everything a whole lot easier. Weekends are enough to throw me off, sometimes… at work I’ve got my lunch and my packed snack, I know what will be for breakfast and what we will have for dinner. Weekends, on the other hand… ALL THE CHOICES!!! Not good, not good at all.

    • I think a lot of people find the same weekend challenge. For me, right now with my injury, weekends are also harder because I am not doing any exercise. At least during the week I have been doing non-cardio at the gym.

  3. We are the same person! I could have written this! We are going on 2 vacations. We leave today for one of them and the other one is in April. While I LOVE vacations- I start to feel a sense of anxiety about my healthy lifestyle and how I am going to “handle” or “incorporate” these vacations into my regular plan. It causes me stress. I wish it didn’t, but it does. I have gotten better over the years- but I always welcome coming home to my routine with wide open arms!!!!

    • So, funny thing… I think I’ve gotten WORSE over the years! Of course that sort of follows that maybe my whole relationship with food has gotten worse. Long story.

      Anyhow, there have actually been a few vacations I have handled very “normally,” as I’d call it. A few when I’ve remained pretty much “on plan.” And, then those in the last year… eek.

  4. Thanks for the link rec!

    My new travel routine starts this morning, and I’ll admit to some trepidation about it. But I reminded myself last night that I am *more* than capable of coming up with a new routine that works well for me.

    And then I google-mapped my destination and saw that there’s a Sweet CeCe’s Yogurt Shop across the street from it. 🙂

    • When I linked you I went back and reread your post and was struck by how differently we write about the same subject. You, my dear Cammy, are so much more positive and write about how to handle it and I am whining… I mean… writing about how it HANDLES me! It was a good reminder and eye opener that I had once planed to try to see my glass as half full.

  5. I try to be flexible and sometimes I get it right, others wrong but there’s nothing quite like having a schedule and sticking to it!

    Life is too unpredictable for my obsession with planning out my exercise schedules! One day I will cope better 😀

    • I have actually gotten much better with the exercise being disrupted. (Not now, of course, with my injury… but before.) Used to be I only worked out in the morning and if that got messed up for some reason that was it. But I’ve evolved and can now actually do exercise later in the day if I want to:) Progress.

  6. I am most comfortable with routine, too. As I get older, though, maybe I can claim that I’m a little bit more flexible at adapting to changes in my routine. But I’ll admit right up front, that I’m best with changes to routine that are MY idea, not enforced changes! 🙂

  7. I like routine too, so I totally get where you are coming from.

    If I’m out of routine, my eating and exercising can suffer, but I’m working on it!

  8. The more I drifted away from childhood the more I valued routine (and realized that I didn’t have any control over the aspects of my childhood, which fueled me even further). I used to have to know what was going on every minute – NO surprises. It kind of set my autistic senses into a fury. But over time and forcing myself to do things outside of my routine, I realize that the world doesn’t come crashing down as I’d expect. I’m making myself do these things more and more but I think it will forever be a challenge to me.

  9. I hear this, for sure. It’s funny you brought it up, because last Saturday morning at an AA mtg I go to with about 80 people – the chairs were set up in a different configuration for some reason, and we were all very agitated and uncomfortable! I actually felt I couldn’t pay attention in the same way because I wasn’t staring at the same view out the window!

    Change is hard. Change is inevitable. And no – we don’t have to like it, but if we want to have peace, we better accept it!

    • Oh – this so makes me think of how I want the same spot in a room all the time. I remember that from college. And now at the gym. When I take a class I want to be in the same spot and it totally throws me if someone claims it first and I have a different view of the room! (Which is why I get to yoga early despite the fact we can’t enter the room because of a class in session beforehand.)

  10. I’m at my best with a normal routine. I go on auto-pilot and eat well, don’t miss my workouts, keep up with the crap around the house and even sleep better. I can be flexible, but routine is what keeps Lazy Shelley at bay. 😉

  11. I love my routine! I do my best when allowed to be at home and have control over everything.But how often does that happen? Not often enough.

    Lately my routine has been out of whack and I have done my best to be flexible and go with the flow. For me, I think I have handled it very well even while being on this new food plan and making many changes at the same time. 🙂 I am learning to adapt and that is a good thing.

    • I think being on a new food plan really is easier when life just takes a back seat and lets you plan. But over time I think it gets easier when it takes less thought and prep and all that.

  12. I’m not alone! I ❤ my routine! I especially love my routine when it is helping me reach my goals. Occasionally I wake up and realize that I'm not in a routine (a positive thing!), but rather a rut, so I struggle out. What is the first thing I do when I break a rut? I create a new routine!

  13. I am definitely a routine girl!

  14. Ann

    With my crazy busy life the luxury of routine is just not possible most the time. Oh sure, I try to have a framework of routine and I still try to plan for it, but frankly there’s always something popping up. That’s my reality. So I’m learning to be healthy “on the fly”. I don’t have a choice but to do that if I’m going to really make these changes long term.

  15. I am a total routine kind of a girl. I can’t live in chaos, I have to have plans and routines in order for me to live right and be sane LOL

  16. Talk about the other side of the coin. I am the anti-routine girl who longs for the peace and predictability of routines. Probably I would get bored with them in a week, but when your life is constantly chaotic and no two minutes (let alone days) are the same, routines sound like an oasis in the desert. Maybe you can trade me some of your normal for some of my crazy and then we’ll both be happy!

  17. I’m a free spirit but I’m trying to establish routines for myself. They really do make a difference!

  18. Love the routine and predictability. Lately, though, we’ve been traveling about 4 days out of every ten (and are leaving again today for five days), so I’ve had to adjust. (Or maybe I’m just getting a new routine that includes travel????) In any event, I’m learning to deal with what is.

  19. I do love my routine Karen – like you! Like my workouts – thankfully at a time that is hard for other things to get in the way BUT I love my own food! 🙂

  20. While my mom gave me the middle name Lynn instead of routine, I do like having daily rituals to reinforce healthy habits. 🙂 I like knowing my meal options, workout schedule and social plans in advance. Ironically, my career sometimes makes routine impossible as crisis communications is part of my job and you never know what could be in store day to day.Looking forward to hearing your exciting news!

  21. Nicole

    Oh Karen, I LOVE routine, and a funny thing my 13 year old is the same way. I never looked at it as a control issue, I just like to have everything organized and in its place. Just the way I am and I like it like that lol.
    So, looking forward to hearing about your exciting news. Have a beautiful day. 🙂

  22. Oh my GOD you are killing me woman. This is so unlike you to be an all out blogtease. Did you get a dog? Adopt an African child? Buy a spinbike? A new tracking device of some sort? BLARG!

    I have a love hate thing with routine. I love knowing what to expect day to day, but I hate adhering to a set plan. If I plan it, I will not want to do it. No matter what it is… except going out to eat.

  23. I hear youuuuu! I have worked sooo hard over the past few years to become more flexible, and slowly it’s helping!

  24. We may be twins in this respect. I NEED ROUTINE AND A SCHEDULE. I need things well thought out and well planned with a PLAN B in case something deters the original plan.

    I’m not as diligent about planning food ahead of time but I feel like I plan because I do all the grocery shopping so I mentally make note of what I want to cook.

    Other than that, yes I need routine. After I travel, I need a few days to ease back into routine. My body craves it.

    I wish I was more easy-going and spontaneous sometimes though.

  25. I feel a little like Rain Man sometimes in my inability to deal with changes to my routine. It really makes me grouchy and can throw me for a loop. And other times? No problem. At. All. I don’t get it. How can it make me have a complete mental breakdown sometimes and not others?

  26. I love routine! Although with 3 little kids you have to go with the flow. They are older now and I love the schedule of school, homework, dinner, etc.

  27. Miz


    Im a weird one.
    I adore my life and routine but can also quickly get the need and craving for change.
    As long as I have my framework (read: FAMILY) Im ok.

  28. I am a routine person too. And I can see that my kids respond positively to it as well. Great post!

  29. Yep I’m all about routine. Although in my case, it became an obsession that I worked really hard to break away from. I wrote about something very similar this morning!

  30. I think having a food routine is super important 🙂 I’m still working on the exercise being added into my daily routine!

  31. Routine isn’t just my middle name, it’s my first name! Ah ha ha ha! If people want to make plans with me, they need to make them AT LEAST 24 hours in advance… and even then, I cannot ALWAYS gaurantee that I will stick to the plan… It’s all thanks to my ridiculous stomach though, EFF YOU CHARLIE (my stomach is named Charlie)! LOL.

  32. Routine is SO IMPORTANT to me! I love my routine and when I have to actually get off it even for an hour or two it really throws me for a loop mentally. Its pretty scary actually, I wish I wasn’t like that to a point.

  33. Hola Karen!
    Yes, I’m a routine gal too. Hubby broke his leg on Christmas Day and my whole life feels like it’s been upended – I’m looking forward to things being “normal” again, what ever that means lol


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