When I was a kid I hated routines my parents made up for me. I had to, among other things, clean my room after playing, go to bed early, do my homework every day, learn to play piano, visit my parental grandparents every evening, spend every second weekend with my maternal grandparents (who lived in the middle of nowhere), go to church every Sunday, do dishes after every meal, help with cleaning the house every Saturday morning to deserve a “free time”, start the coal furnace in winter on the days I was the first one home etc. etc.
I kept comparing myself with my cousins and classmates and felt like nobody had such a hard discipline as me. The only thing my young me wanted to do is to rebel against all the rules, routines and discipline. However, I was not very brave as a teenager, so I rather followed. In my mind, I thought that I will have to follow the rules until I am 18 years old and then everything will change. I will go study far away and live an amazing life free of routine, rules, and discipline. I could not wait for it to happen. And when I was in my last year of high school and it was time to send applications to universities, I sent all of them to Prague, the capital city which is 200 km far away from the town where I grew up. I did not want to take the chance that I will have to study closer to home which would mean keep living with my family and their rules, routines, and discipline.
When I began living in Prague, however, I kept doing the routines I was used to, especially studying hard. Yes, I also explored Prague, made new friends, partied, dated my first real boyfriend, participated in couple orgies, etc. The new life was exciting but it was also overstimulating and exhausting at times. Therefore, I started to set new routines for myself including exercising daily, learning a new skill every year (from downhill and cross-country skiing to belly dancing), hanging out with foreign students regularly to improve my English language, reading more self-help books on how to be happy, and other. I started to find out that I actually enjoy having a routine and discipline. Especially if I set them up for myself for some higher purpose (like exercising to look and feel better, learning a new skill to be able to impress more guys, learning English to go study to North America one day). Suddenly I found out that I really enjoy following my new routines. And I also enjoyed to occasionally not follow them at all. That way I could fully enjoy hangover junk food eating instead of yoga class, sipping on hot chocolate with rum with a group of friends at the ski chalet after selling the day ski pass at 1pm because we were lazy to ski more that day, flying to Thailand instead of attending classes at the uni, hanging out with my Czech boyfriend and his friends and not having to think in foreign languages.
My next activities after the uni, including working in law firms in Prague, traveling the world, immigrating and working towards a permanent residency in Canada, studying Canadian law, living like a hippie in Vancouver, becoming self-employed, partying a lot etc. did not allow much space for making and following my own routines. I kept only some routines including exercising daily, partying every weekend, learning a new skill every couple of years (preferably a skill which will impress other people and they will want to be my friends), going to at least three music festivals per summer, pushing myself to be more extroverted and make new friends. Most of my routines were rather unhealthy and I started to feel very unsettled and anxious. My life was all over the map and there was no order or security to it. And that was the time I realized that I need to go back to my daily routines. Set up more of them and practice discipline to follow them.
Over the years I learned that having daily routines give me a sense of security and predictability. My discipline to follow my daily routines gives me a sense of accomplishment even on the days when I have otherwise not accomplished anything else. And I have some rules to break in case I feel like my inner rebel is bored and needs to get out. Because what is the point to be a rebel if there is nothing to rebel against ;-).
My current daily routine comprises of getting up around 7.30am, walking my dog, running up the staircase to 4th floor six times, doing my yoga and muscle strengthening exercises, meditate, practice splits and handstand, every other day do facial fitness exercises, make my veggie green smoothie for breakfast and lunch, get ready to work and learn new things. I disciplined myself to this routine quite well that I became addicted to it and I feel weird when I don’t have it. The high of accomplishment is very satisfing. My other daily routines include more evening meditations, meeting friends one on one instead of attending big parties, reading/listening to self-help books (my latest interest is in stoicism), and learning new things (investments, trading options, and rock climbing). However, I am learning to enjoy the random days when I decide not to follow all of my daily routines and let the rebel out.
My dear reader, thank you that you made it to the end and hopefully enjoyed my article which is the first one of many describing my journey to saving and investing money in one of the most expensive city on the planet to reach my dream of retiring earlier than at 65, staying healthy and youthful as long as possible, living in Nicaragua in winter and up here on the West Coast in summer, spending more time with my family in Europe, traveling more and making more people smile. Feel free to share it with your friends. Thank you, I like you already!
I would be very curious to know what daily routines work for you so please let me know. 😉