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The Meaningful Routine

Routine is yet another English word with a couple of meanings. It can work in your favor, a ritual of habits that get you through your day in productive fashion. And it can be used to evoke the commonplace (“Yet another routine day”). As with words like habits and ritual and discipline, your routine is what you make of it. Surely there are a whole lot of self-help gurus who love to dole out healthy portions of advice on routine. But getting beyond the transformational power of routine as a magical shortcut to all of your dreams (ack), what is it to you and me?

“Perfection is a theory. You cannot be a perfect human being, perfect artist. You cannot be a perfect husband, you cannot be a perfect father probably and probably I am not. But go through your daily routine with hope you will be a little better in all respects, and do something meaningful” — Mikhail Baryshnikov

I like Baryshnikov’s take on routine. Let’s not make more of it than we should, but recognize that the things we do daily matter in bringing us to somewhere more meaningful than where we began the day. Each day is another step towards better. Each step is part of our routine. Simple, right?

Routine is on my mind yet again, because some of mine are working really well, but others aren’t getting established to the level that they must. A bit more emphasis on fitness would be beneficial, but it gets lost in the shuffle. Writing the blog is a cornerstone activity, but writing that potentially great novel is more sporadic. If we are what we repeatedly do, then it follows that we won’t become what we consistently aren’t doing.

All this speaks to the need to assess our routines and make changes to reflect that new compass heading we want to follow. Without getting all self-helpy, routines are both our greatest ally and our greatest enemy. That makes what we do with our routine… meaningful.

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