Change, My bookshelf

A Routine Check-up

I know I dissed O magazine and others for their headline hype that often leads to total disappointment once I open the covers.

Well, I gave into the magazine cover lure again and bought a Good Housekeeping magazine.

I’m happy to report I learned something.

Turns out that Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project writes a GH column that is very instructive.

In the issue I read, she wrote about scheduling priorities and how our ordinary routines influence our happiness.

And, she disclosed the secret of adulthood!

Here it is: What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while.

There’s truth in that statement for me because I think I kid myself about what I do everyday as part of my routine and what I do once in a while.

For example, I think I go to the gym every day or at least five or six days a week. I eat good salads every day, and make healthy dinners nearly every night. I write something meaningful every day. I call my mom at least weekly, text my kids daily and call them a few times a week, go out with my husband every weekend, and call my friends regularly.

In reality, I make it to the gym five days a week on a really good, perfect week. I write something every day but not anything as structured and focused as I think. I sometimes forget to call my mom, and she calls me to remind me! I text my kids less often than I think, and I don’t’ always go out with Doug on the weekends. And calling my friends? I’m terrible at that, really terrible. I’m not a good phone caller.

According to Christopher Alexander, a writer and architect, most people have about a dozen routines. I wrote down some of mine – errands, cleaning, exercising, meal preparation, working, morning and bedtime routines, holiday, travel routines, etc.

Rubin said one way to make us happier is to add fun to our routines. So I thought of some of the more unpleasant routines like tidying up my house – emptying the dishwasher and organizing the mail. She suggested trying to make those routines more fun with music or books on tape.

So I went through all of my routines and figured out how I could make them more pleasant or fun so that I could pack a little more happiness into my life.

“By identifying these patterns and acknowledging their power to shape our lives, we’re better able to spot happiness-boosting ways to change them,” she said.

I like that thought because our routines end up shaping our existence.

So, while some magazines offer more headline hype than substance, Good Housekeeping came through for me, and I guess I have to give that the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.