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Why Routine is Medicine for the Soul (Even When You Dread Following Through)

  • Published on: 07 March, 2018
  • Last update: 07 March, 2018

I REALLY did not want to go to my voice lesson this week.

I’ve only missed one since I started 7 months ago, and the rebellious “screw routine I need freedom” part of me was getting antsy.

I was having a horrible day… I’m talking a case of the ugly cries… and I almost felt trapped by the constancy of this weekly appointment. I wanted to be able to deal with my emotions the way *I* saw fit – meaning I wanted to act based on those emotions, rather than acting from a place of discipline and commitment.
I walked into my lesson fully prepared to tell her I had to finish early because I wasn’t feeling well. Yet as soon as we began the scales (mixed with our usual banter where she reminisces on her Broadway days), that all melted away. I suddenly had the feeling I was exactly where I needed to be.

And more than anything, I was glad that I showed up.

When we get into a commitment or routine, the rebel within us may feel like someone is ‘making us do something’ because all of a sudden, expectation is present. However, that ‘expectation’ is really coming from love for the self ~ wanting better for the self ~ and a deep knowing that nothing worthy comes quickly.

That’s the beauty of routine: it benefits us even when we dread following through. It makes us way more likely to at least start and try in the first place. It keeps us dedicated to the things we know are good for our souls, even when our memory is clouded by emotion at the immediate moment.

I realized that the very thing I was resisting (honoring my commitment) was the very thing I needed to help me feel better.

This is true for any commitment you can think of, whether it’s an exercise routine, a recurring lunch with old friends, or weekly class/hobby like my singing lesson. We tend to overestimate the effort it will take to complete our obligation, while underestimating the reward it brings us in proportion.

No matter what is on your plate this week, remember that it’s always worth it to show up.

It’s an act of self love and integrity. And no matter how hard it is to start, the feeling you get when you finish may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

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