The start of 2020 brought a huge change for me. I never wanted it and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life. But it’s made me understand who I am and establish a completely different perspective.
I’m an introvert, but an extrovert at the same time. I want to hide away and enjoy my own company, but the next minute I find myself reaching out to close friends and spontaneously catching up.
I’m motivated and yet I’m not. It spikes at times I don’t expect it to and plummets when I least need my creative spark to disappear. I’m entirely unpredictable but I think I kind of like it.
My bad habits brought me better ones
It took me sitting at a home reading novel after novel to start sympathizing with my own personality.
I was investing a lot of time into characters and their personalities. I learnt how to see their value and interests and figure out what made them tick. I was then able to push this insight onto myself, allowing me to better understand the human being that I am.
This kind of perspective made me stop in my tracks at first.
I was suddenly getting a reality check that was completely confronting to me. I hated what I was seeing and feeling, but at some point in time, I decided I had to jump that hurdle to get any further.
The result has been taking my bad habits, laying them out with pen and paper and investing time and effort into altering them.
I’ve worked hard the last three months to be the brighter, more positive, more productive version of me.
It’s been extremely difficult — so much so that I can’t count the number of mini breakdowns I’ve had. But those moments of tears brought clarity afterwards, and I wouldn’t have seen this progress without those crossroads.
I took the good with the bad and decided it was about time things changed.
Self-discovery showed me the importance of routine
Throughout this process, I had a lot of time alone to really examine my behaviours. My morning trends and bedtime hygiene started to make me feel uncomfortable with who I was.
Eventually, it became too much for me to put up with, and a reality check roared over me like a wild riptide. I couldn’t get out of it until I learnt to keep pace, find the calm and get myself out of the mess I’d made.
And here I am.
My life is now full of routine.
I’ve learnt that I am 100% systematic. The success of my day solely relies on the way I set myself up, both the night before and the morning of.
Here’s how I make sure I have the best possible day I can
- I write down my entire to-do list
From hanging out the washing to giving my client a call — even the tiniest tasks go on there (like getting petrol). If I can see how much I achieved throughout the day, I’m more likely to follow it up the next day with even more.
- The moment I wake up, I either creatively write (like this), read or journal
This has been absolutely crucial to my effectiveness in the hours after. It’s like an ‘on’ switch for my brain. If I don’t do it in the morning, I do it at night.
- I lean on those around me
Their reassurance always gives me added comfort and peace of mind. And I’m endlessly thankful for their company.
- I keep to a healthier, cleaner diet and more exercise
Before I went through my life’s biggest change yet, I had zero awareness of what I was doing to myself. I’m now far healthier with my diet, exercise every day and have dropped some kilos as a bonus. It’s funny how much this influences your mindset.
- When feelings arise, I don’t shove them aside
When you don’t want to lose the progress you’ve made, it’s easy to dismiss negative feelings when they pop up.
I had to rewire my brain to think of moments that sparked sadness, nostalgia, anxiety even depression as gateways to feeling better.
Once I learnt that the pain is temporary, it became far easier to let these emotions in; let them run amuck, and then tell them to move on. The result was acknowledging my own feelings, thoughts and behaviours, then allowing myself the ability to grow from it.
Having a routine that incorporates all of this means I’ve been able to stick to more positive behaviours as a whole.
I’ve stopped drinking almost entirely (I have the odd one here and there) and I use my ability and passion to write as more than just a way for me to make a living. It now makes me live.
I want you to remember that establishing a routine can anchor you when you otherwise feel like you’ll get lost at sea.
It doesn’t matter how small the changes are that you make or the tasks you set yourself. So long as you’re highlighting the need for them to be completed and hold yourself accountable, you’ll see progress more than you ever have before.
For example — according to Thought Catalog — regulating your daily actions helps you to deactivate your “flight or fight” instincts. This is because you’re no longer facing the unknown.
So if I have any last words for you, it’s to take your fear of walking into the fog and use it as motivation to see the clear view on the other side.
Prepare yourself for the upcoming day; set yourself up for success and don’t cut corners.
You’ll never stop thanking yourself if you do.