Yes, I admit to following a daily regimen that some may call being in a rut; but I much prefer its discipline, the empowerment it confers over my many infirmities and the peace it affords in keeping chaos at bay and getting things done. I believe the passions must be made obedient to the mind. Or as Epictetus put it, “One person likes tending to his farm, another to his horse; I like to daily monitor my self-improvement.” Virtue doesn’t fall upon us out of the blue. We must toil at it.
Since I’m writing about routine, Amy Landino has written a wonderful book on its potential for transformation, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Day and Upgrade Your Life. Her thesis is that a good morning creates a good life; in brief, beginning your day with a sound routine can promote well-being.
Movement: Do something to move your body. You can be ambitious and hit the gym right away. I prefer just a few simple stretches and massaging the muscles on my face. When you move your body a little, you wake up.
Mindfulness: It’s too easy to pick up the phone or turn the TV on when you don’t have anything else to do. Instead of resorting to those things, start with a practice that helps you generate your own original thoughts or ideas. Meditation works for some people.
Mastery: Focus on something that you’ve been meaning to get around to or that you’re passionate about. Have you been wanting to learn a foreign language? Start the day going through flashcards or using a training app. When you make time to master something, you aren’t allowing yourself to stay stuck on the hamster wheel of the everyday.
That’s it, a simple routine with large dividends. Allons-y! Go for it!