Win Today with Christopher Cook

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Why Your Routine is Dumping You in a Rut

Is your routine producing gainful progress in life or is the familiarity of your routine simply producing the blinding comfort of "same"?

Here’s a question you need to honestly answer: Is your routine producing gainful progress in life or is the familiarity of your routine simply producing the blinding comfort of “same”? Simply put, is your routine dumping you in a rut?

I believe that nothing will undermine your lifelong potential faster than settling for the security of familiarity when new and unfamiliar opportunities coming knocking at your door. Sadly, many people miss a maximized life because they not only fail to step out of their safe routine, they completely ignore the knock at the door.

Just like I did.

Tip Toe, Tip Toe

Most of my life, I’ve lived a careful existence. Not sheltered from the harshness life often brings, but probably in spite of it. Many of you know my story, but in the last year, I’ve taken a step back to honestly assess my life, asking the following questions: How am I doing emotionally and spiritually? What progress and personal growth have I made as a young man? With whom am I surrounding myself?

What I discovered is that while I was living a very intentional life, I was living life intentionally safe. Essentially, because of the accumulation of life circumstances, I made the internal choice to call my own shots and eliminate as many surprises as possible.

And so my Sunday through Saturday daily rhythm became predictable, convenient, and safe. From my work schedule to where I ate, to how I started each day, my personal discipline looked impressive on the outside, but was debilitating on the inside for the long haul.

So I decided to throw a grenade to the whole thing.

It’s All In Your Head

Now, before you think I abandoned a disciplined life, I should clarify that I did not. Instead, I made a deliberate effort to assess my routine, think outside of the box, and shake things up as necessary to incite creativity, clarity, and confidence in my present and toward my future.

Much to my surprise, this exercise jogged my brain in a fresh way, and as a result, I quickly began to see life—even the daily grind—with fresh eyes. Here’s why: the change truly started in my head. Scientifically, it’s the concept of neuroplasticity.

Scientists believe that the brain continually adjusts and reorganizes according to our thought life and stimuli. According to a Stanford University study, “Genes are certainly not the only factor determining how our brain develops and forms its inner connections. Conditions in our environment, such as social interactions, challenging experiences and even fresh air can play a crucial role in brain cell survival and the formation of connections.”

Moreover, the university study proposes, “Brain activity promotes brain reorganization. In other words, ‘brain workouts’ help the brain reorganize connections more quickly and stimulate reorganization when the brain is not capable of reorganizing on its own. Even simple brain exercises such as presenting oneself with challenging intellectual environments, interacting in social situations, or getting involved in physical activities will boost the general growth of connections.”

And the quickest way to do so, as the study insinuated, is to change-up your routine, clear the clutter, and re-ignite creativity and inspiration that will fuel a productive, gainful life experience.

I challenge you to take a deep look at your routine. Even if it’s working, is it producing the results you could have by altering some aspects of it? I know you want to be your best for yourself and for those who matter most in your life. Here are three reasons you need to abandon the rut, adjust your routine, and take steps to creating laser-like momentum in your daily life:

Three Reasons Why You Need to Change Your Routine

  1. Shaking things up produces clarity about what’s working effectively and perspective on where your time and energy are actually being invested. As was the case for me, just because you’re disciplined doesn’t mean you’re getting better. Listen closely: I’m not slamming the case for a routine. Routines are great, but they are like a double-edged sword. I’ve heard it said many times: we don’t know what we like; we like what we know.
  1. Changing your routine forces your brain to grow, develop, and create anew. By locking yourself in a prison of “same,” you’re potentially robbing yourself of great results while settling for good results. Your intellectual growth, cognitive ability, and long-term brain strength hinges upon neuroplastic activity.
  1. Changing your routine develops the muscle of adaptability. In life, you will encounter obstacles and unforeseen turns. Your ability to cope with change and quickly adapt will either catapult you or derail you in life. Not only does your ability to adapt create sharper, quicker problem-solving skills within your brain, it aids your overall emotional health. Emotionally strong people are adaptable, even in the face of adversity.

I’m not saying changing your routine is easy, but I truly believe your long-term livelihood depends upon it. I can truly say that taking a step back to assess and adjust has literally opened the doors to new opportunities and significant promotion in my life in the last several months.

The knock on your door won’t stop. The question is whether or not you will answer.

Here’s my challenge: take a moment to carefully assess your current routine and share one area you will endeavor to change and improve. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Let’s do this together.

  • Esther Lynnae

    This line, “living life intentionally safe,” hit me like a ton of bricks. I have lived a good chunk of my life this way and have been on a journey to live more by faith than certainty. You mentioned how you regularly “check in ” with yourself to see how you are doing. I started doing this myself about 3 years ago when I decided I wanted to get unstuck and get my life back after a pretty rough couple of years. I like to call them “health checks.” It’s a way to give myself the freedom to feel things and be honest with what’s going on inside of me, without negating my feelings and emotions. But it’s also a way to re-evaluate what my rhythm or routine is to see if it needs to be changed. It’s truly been eye-opening as I discovered new passions and rediscovered old dreams I had squashed because I was more concerned with playing it safe and having the security of comfortability. So now I am in the process of realigning my focus so I can incorporate some dreams I have and see them come to fruition. Thanks for another great post!

    • Esther, this is awesome. I really appreciate your “health checks.” Keep going, keep going, keep going!