It’s 5:44 a.m. and against all habitual urges to do “nothing until 7 a.m.,” I’ve rolled out of bed and arrived in the kitchen. Here’s the routine:
- get up early
- drink lemon water
- write for 30-40 minutes
Let me pause and admit that this isn’t my daily routine. It’s the routine I established months ago as my daily routine. It’s the routine I want to follow but don’t.
In his book, The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson talks about mastering the mundane. He explains how simple tasks repeated over time amount to great success. He encourages us to habitually attack each day accomplishing those things that are easy to do, but just as easy not to do: don’t drink or use, exercise, eat clean, read ten pages of a personal development book, drink water…
Drink water. Hmm. Why is that hard to do? I don’t know, but I have to set alerts on my phone to remind me of my daily water intake goal.
But back to this morning. I fought the pulling urge to do nothing this morning until 7 a.m. Here lately, I’ve been sleeping until 7 a.m. and it hasn’t produced anything except a “nothing until 7 a.m.” routine.
And I really had to fight, with every ounce of sleepy strength, the urge to grab my phone and check my messages, check my social feed, scroll through emails. I’ve done these things habitually for years now. And it’s produced a “monitor your social acceptance meter” routine that I’m religious about.
I think I want to be off that now. The whole trying to set new goals and reach new heights thing takes mundane practice.
Routines work. And it doesn’t matter what the routine is designed to do for it to be successful. If I establish a routine that avoids drugs and alcohol, in time I will adopt a clean and sober lifestyle. If I nurture clean eating, in a few short weeks I will have a diet of clean eating. If I start each day reading ten pages of a good book, before long a book will be the first thing I reach for in the mornings.
If I continue to sleep in, and start each day scrolling through my phone, reaching the goals I’ve set for myself will be mere goals and nothing more.
Either of these routines work. Both are successful. I decide which one to honor.
Try choosing what works in your intended favor. Remind yourself of your goals, your desires and dreams. And then, establish a simple process that brings those things into focus. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. Mundane will work just fine.
Today, I got up, drank my lemon water and wrote for 30-40 minutes. It’s now 6:47 a.m.
Time to check my phone.
Today’s Challenge: Set a simple mundane routine that you can follow.