Routines are important in building anything significant over time. All things in nature and in the universe seem to strengthen this simple concept. Our seasons begin and end from one cycle to the next as our planet follows its routine around the sun. It takes 36,000 productive days to build a century of progress. And so it is with the days of our lives.
It is often said that no good comes from dwelling on the past. Conversely, it is said that those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them. When I look back over the course of as little as a few months I can often see how I could have easily accomplished my goals had I only adhered to a defined structure. In this manner, I see in my own life mistakes I make daily and know that I should dwell upon them if I ever hope to overcome them.
We all are victims of many insignificant mistakes we make daily that add up upon us over the course of time. Eating too much, not getting adequate exercise, indulging in the many small conveniences our society provides us and lighting one cigarette each hour of our waking day. And then one day it occurs to us that we are overweight, fatigued, poor and gasping for every labored breath. Thankfully, it only takes a day to reverse this vicious cycle of self defeat.
The routines that make up the anatomy of a productive day involve making small decisions about the things we do and how we do them. In our diet, it is more about recognizing when we get hungry during the day and what we choose to eat to quell that hunger. When could we opt to walk rather than drive to include practical exercises into our daily routine? Financially, success is more about how much we save as opposed to how much we earn. If we can consistently save more than we spend on any given day we are on the path to financial success.
Perhaps substance addiction is the strongest argument for setting routines because this not so easy to overcome. If we stop abruptly we could continue on for years yearning for that drink or that cigarette. By simply setting an appropriate time at the end of our day to drink and pouring less into our glass we can still enjoy a drink to reward ourselves for a productive day. By increasing the time between our last smoke by one hour each day we can eventually stop smoking altogether or enjoy one cigarette with a drink. Ideally, we would not drink or smoke at all. But the decision to stop would be more easily made when we empower ourselves to do so.
The greatest reward over time for a structured life is not the assurance of health, vitality or wealth. It is the contentment and reassurance that comes from a life lived in balance.