That should actually say, “New year, start an actual routine.” I tend to always get sucked into the optimistic pull of January 1st but this year I want to set attainable goals and break them into smaller, incremental changes. Since January coincided with my husband switching schedules, our first big pains of re-entry into school, and my feeling a little untethered without an outside schedule driving me (in other words, unemployed) we needed to get organized.
If you know me or the blog you know I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching since I changed course almost 6 months ago. This has included me finally finding a therapist that I love, and she had me test for my Meyers-Briggs personality type. Since then, I’ve had some realizations that I think I was in denial about. I’ve always thought of myself as a planner, and fairly organized but at the same time that didn’t always fit. Once I started thinking more about myself as an INFP, I’m realizing where I’ve been struggling much of my life.
INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix…
If they are not careful, INFPs can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. Left unchecked, INFPs may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world. –16 Personalities
Ummm… yes on that. I wasn’t initially relating to myself as being “idealistic” but once I sat with it I realized I do hold certain values very strongly and meaningful work is a huge motivator for me. And, as my husband will attest, I abhor menial chores and housework. There are always ideas to chase and other pursuits that I prioritize. Anyway, what this all boils down to is I suck at routines. I actually have spent my life being repelled by the thought of them (stifling! boring!) and pretty actively avoided having one.
Then the other day I had a bit of an aha moment. Since I also suck at goal setting, on the suggestion of a friend, I started a Best Self Journal (#januarysohard is my current mantra). Their system recommends you write down a Morning and Evening Ritual to bookend your day and help your mind stay focused on the goals you’ve decided on. My first thought was, “this would be great for my 3 year old,” and proceeded to design a few basic routine charts for her to follow along. I made one for mornings, evenings, and she has another in her bathroom for bedtime. (Pictured above is also a reward chart to keep her in bed which has been a new struggle this year). She is a super independent kid, and the charts are working better than I had hoped. With the icons she can ‘read’ her next steps and after only a couple days she actually started working through some of the steps on her own. After months of her literally doing snow angels on the floor instead of getting dressed, this is frankly a miracle.
Seeing how much the self-paced structure was working for her (and our whole family) I admitted that I could use one too. Drifting through my days with random meetings and plans sprinkled through the week is not making me feel as accomplished as I want to feel. Soooo…I’m trying out this routine business. Maybe if I anchor my days with things that bring me structure and focus, I will create energy to meet my goals and actually accomplish them. I do know that if I wake up and open my phone or check emails I immediately go down a rabbit hole that leaves me scrambling to get on track the rest of the day.
Here are my little ritual lists with time estimates. I keep them pasted in my journal and a couple other places around the house for now. The morning routine is meant to set the rest of the day up for success, and the evening is to make mornings easier on myself. I’m also in the process of making a weekly schedule for myself. As of this week I will be working at a co-working space a few days a week (yay!) and am looking forward to productive days outside of the house.
A big part of all this is really mentally and physically taking care of myself. I can’t afford (literally) to get off track again and so many of my struggles have to do with me not prioritizing myself in healthy ways. Plus, its becoming crystal clear that I have a strong little girl that is looking up to me to guide her into womanhood. The old adage of putting on your oxygen mask first, is really relevant lately and I owe it to both of us. This plan has me writing down a list of what needs to happen, and if I need to adjust my day, I have to find a way to get them done another time.
We’re still in week 1, but I’m feeling optimistic and its not perfect but helping already. Anyone else have any great tips? Do you have daily rituals you follow?