Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

How to Enjoy Your Routine and Still Work Towards Goals

Published on February 20, 2011 by   ·   No Comments

By Cat Li Stevenson/TinyBuddha

Enjoying the Moment

“There is little success when there is little laughter.” ~Andrew Carnegie

As a long-time, former night owl converting to a morning person, I’ve made a few discoveries about adopting a new routine.

Now that I wake up before sunrise, I experience a slow decline in my enthusiasm at around 10:00 a.m.

The other day, I realized that I had not yet poured myself a cup of coffee. Completely floored at how I managed to forget—but also grateful and proud that my energy stayed up naturally up until this point—I made my way to the office coffee machine.

I felt a sense of panic as I searched for the coffee bean bag on the counter—nowhere to be found.  I looked in the grinder to see if perhaps the leftover grinds from yesterday could somehow fill my mug today. It couldn’t.

I finally looked in a cabinet nearby and—tah dah!—a whole stash of coffee beans ready to be ground! A sense of calm came back instantaneously. What I realized between 10:00 a.m. and 10:11 a.m. while searching for coffee is this:

I’m deeply fond of the comforts of my routine, whether I choose to admit or not.

I’ve fought it for the past few years. I’d come into the office sluggish and frustrated, and it was written all over my face to the point where co-workers would avoid me.  I didn’t find a sense of purpose in my 8–5, and since I was a transparent person, I justified that it was okay to show it.

I was miserable during many parts of 2009 and 2010. I thought if I embraced my routine, I would somehow be settling.

I was afraid to allow things to make me happy in the present because I was trained to look forward. I was accustomed by my upbringing to continually outdo my current situation.

I felt that if I took life more seriously than everyone else—which included resisting anything that didn’t align with my personal opinion of success—I was a step ahead.  I craved constant achievement. I was a serial improver and it made me unhappy.

Eventually, I came to a point where I straddled the line of giving up and settling versus fighting and improving.

I straddled for a year—immobile, lost, and scattered.

Fast forward a year later, and I’ve found that we don’t have to be torn between being in the moment and creating the next one.

Instead, we can carry both ambition and happiness with us on our daily journey. The goals, the destination, and the visions we have for the future are only worth accomplishing if we can be present and appreciate the ride.

Appreciating doesn’t have to mean settling. It just means to be here now and be a part of the ride, instead of on the sidelines fighting it.

Here are three ways to happily achieve:

1. Live your life one small improvement at a time.

Do not overwhelm yourself with pressures. Simply take it one step at a time. It’s easy to become stressed and enslaved by something we’re diligently pursuing. In the process, we only see the prize—the “someday,” the end—while missing out on the many amazing, little moments that could bring us happiness.

Embracing our current routine doesn’t have to mean to succumbing to it or becoming complacent, but instead to take growth one day at a time. Commit to a small adjustment each day that corresponds to your overall goal. The power of consistency will be transformational.

In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy talks about the monumental improvements we can make in daily disciplines that compound over time to create results:

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference

Be consistent, be patient, and stick with it.

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