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Episode 61: Routines That Don’t Serve You

Good morning, everybody, and welcome to episode 61 of The Work Of Becoming podcast! Today, I want to talk to you about routines, and specifically I want to talk about this weird push-pull that we often experience with routines which is that, on one hand, we want them, we gravitate towards them, our brains tell us that routines are safe, and a lot of times we might even struggle with creating new routines, but, at the same time, we sometimes struggle to break or move away from routines that aren’t serving us. So, as always, I’m gonna tell a story.

For years now (you’ve probably heard me talk about) I had this habit of waking up in the morning, moving to the couch, snuggling under the blanket, and drinking a cup of coffee, and this was a habit that I developed probably around 2015 when I was really struggling to get up in the morning, and I finally got close to a routine that I was actually motivated to do. And so, it really transformed my relationship with mornings when I started to do this.

Then, however, years went by. It served me, it served me, it was great, until very recently. Recently, one of the things that I’m working on, as you all have heard me talk about, is distancing myself from social media just a little bit, especially since Instagram, for me, is no longer really a fun social media. I enjoy it. It’s fun in a different way. But it is work for me. When I’m on social media, I am at work. There is no separating the two.

And so, one of the things that I have been working on is reducing the amount of social media that I consume early in the morning so that I’m not waking up and all of a sudden diving straight into work. And I realized that one of the things that is making it really hard for me to do that is the fact that my default routine is to go to the couch, sit down, make my cup of coffee, and then start scrolling. When I start scrolling, I start answering DMs, people have customer service issues, people are commenting things, and all of a sudden, I’m in the middle of work. My stress is really high. I’ve only had coffee that morning because I jumped right into this, that, or the other thing.

And so, all of a sudden, this routine that had worked really well for me for a really long time was no longer serving me, and I have been noticing this for, I would say, several months now, but I’ve been so hesitant to give up that 30 minutes because it is safe. It is what my brain is used to doing. It is what I have been doing for years. I’ve talked about it publicly. There are just so many reasons why that routine feels comfortable, it feels good, and yet, when I look at my behavior, I tend to get stuck there on the couch. I tend to scroll more than I want to. It contributes to the days when I don’t eat in the morning and I skip breakfast which is something that I don’t want to do.

So, this week, I have been on a journey of switching that up, and I’m sort of testing out a bunch of different routines rather than writing one out that’s like my new, quote, “ideal plan,” and then committing to it before I’ve never even tried it. So, if you’ve done that, I want to call you out right now on that, the fact that sometimes when we create a new morning routine, we create it and commit to it in our head without ever even trying it.

But what I really want to get to today, what I really want you to think about after listening to this episode is where are you clinging tightly to a routine or a habit or a ritual that maybe isn’t serving who you are anymore? Or maybe it isn’t serving you in this season of life. I posted about this recently on Instagram, and I had a bunch of reactions and a bunch of people commenting about how some of them were like, “Oh, I’m totally with you! Drinking coffee and scrolling in the morning gets me stuck.” And then other ones were like, “This is actually the habit I’m trying to adopt because I’m used to having an early morning workout, and I’m trying to give myself a slower morning and slow down in my life in general.”

So, everybody is gonna be at a different stage in their journey. Everybody is gonna need something different in the morning. If you don’t know what you might need, I would definitely recommend checking out my Meaningful Mornings course because I have a whole course about building your routine that is actually based on what you want to do and not just sort of these arbitrary standards of what you should do.

But, in general, I want you to think about that even beyond mornings. Where are you stuck to a pattern, to a routine, to a habit that no longer feels good, that’s no longer helping you? When you look at the behaviors that you want to release, when you look at the habits that you don’t want to be doing in your life, what are the routines or the circumstances or the environments that contribute to those things?

That is what I will leave you with today. I hope you have an amazing afternoon, and I will see you in the next one!

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.

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