I spent a lot of time reading Medium articles last year. Most of them fell into the same group and talked about the same things. The hustle porn, the CEO routines and so on was the name of the game. However, one article that I remember was about “making your bed”. I tried looking for it. However, Medium is full of “make your bed” articles now. It’s a weird community. Nevertheless, I have another take on the whole “make your bed to change your life” sentiment. It isn’t about the bed, all you need is a trigger habit.
Before we begin, I would like to declare that I am not an advocate of having a constant routine. In fact, I work quite the opposite. I have certain things that are fixed every day and everything else is variable. That is how it should be, in my opinion, because it breeds freedom with order. That said, I do believe doing the little things right keeps you in-check as a person. I’m not sure how important it is when it comes to being successful; I just like doing it.
I visit my hometown a lot and I often make a couple or more trips each month. It’s only six hours of travel and well, who doesn’t want to see their parents or dog regularly? However, going home and coming back, even if it’s for the weekend poses a weird problem.
I usually travel to Dehradun on Friday evenings. Doing this helps me attend the Friday classes and get home in time for dinner or at least before Saturday kicks in. That gives me two full days until Sunday night when I travel back to New Delhi.
Saturday morning is doomed, obviously and Sundays with family cannot be all about the routine anyway. Also, as I’ve written before, me at home and me at my place are two completely different people.
Staying at one place regularly gives me a sense of control and routine which I truly love but I would never skip going home and family over anything at all. That is when I figured it out. You can break your routine for a couple of days as long as you have a trigger habit. I couldn’t come up with something better, so I urge you to not confuse this with habit triggers which are slightly different things.
Your trigger habit could be anything. It could be making your bed the first thing after you wake up or cleaning your shoes right before you hit the bed. As long as it reminds you of your perfect routine, you’re in luck.
My trigger habit is simple; brushing, flossing and washing my teeth every night.
Like all Indian households, dental hygiene wasn’t as big in my home. So, we didn’t floss. Also, we brushed only once, and that was in the morning. When I came to another city and had to craft my routine, I started brushing my teeth every evening. Gradually, I added flossing and washing too.
That is precisely why this is my trigger habit. It’s something that I introduced in my life when I could start improving it independently.
As soon as I do this, I know I’m in control again, and I’m back into my perfect routine the following day.
A friend’s blog post about muscle shocking comes to mind. The idea here is quite similar. As an individual, you cannot guarantee that all your days will be the same. In fact, where’s the life in that anyway? So, to have a routine that always sticks is difficult to keep up. However, once you have a trigger habit, all you need is to do is shock your self back into control by reminding yourself of that power through a simple action.
This has worked for me lately, and I hope it works for you too. Let me know what you think of this and if it did work for you. If not, how do you keep up a routine even if life interferes? Let me know in the comments section below.