Is Your Routine Getting in the Way of Your success
It’s very common that you have a daily routine or a preferred way of doing things that often we call “non-negotiables.” Whether this is something you have found that works well, or perhaps it’s something that you realize is just a habit you religiously stick to, we all have them in some shape or form.
I’m supportive of habits, routines, and preferences as I believe they provide a form of structure which helps us stay organized, in control and on top of things. Often you can find these habits or routines in little areas like your same process as soon as you wake up (likely includes coffee first thing!), or maybe it’s a schedule you stick to, or even how you go to your same exercise class every Tuesday at 11:00 am. Sometimes we don’t stop to think about why we do a certain routine, habit or assess if it truly fits what we should be doing.
Well, the other day, I was headed to an appointment but the moment I hopped in the car to drive there, I noticed the gas light suddenly came on. I thought, “Oh no!” The gas station I always go to is going the opposite route from the location of my appointment, so I’d be running late. Of course, “I can’t be late!” followed by another thought, “Well okay, I should have enough gas to get me there and back since the light just came on.” Being the wise and curious woman that I am, I’ve learned that the low fuel light comes on and indicates roughly 50 miles left before empty. Naturally, since my appointment was just shy of 5 miles down the road, I knew I’d be fine. Although, I know these aren’t true numbers!
Now, it’s important to note that the reason I always go to this particular gas station is that I save money when paying by cash. I’m talking a whopping $.30 per gallon savings! That can add up especially with the spike in prices we have seen lately here in California.
After my appointment, I got back in the car and remembered that I needed to run through the car wash which was in the same plaza I was in. Verses deciding to put this off to another day, I decided to go ahead and go and figured it should only take a few minutes. As I’m pulling into the line, I checked the how many miles before empty option for peace of mind. “No way, how did it drop to 37 miles left?!” Panic set it because that provided no peace of mind whatsoever and now there was a car behind me so I had no choice but to stay put! Tick tock as I watched the clock, patiently waiting for the wash to be over from the person in front of me. They must have purchased “Supreme, Deluxe, & Premier Wash” because it was about 10 minutes. Literally, it felt like an eternity. In addition to feeling stuck, having my patience tested, I noticed the number dropped to 34 within a matter of minutes! Finally, it was my turn.
As I pulled out of the wash to get back onto the road, I entered what felt like a molasses spill, aka famous LA rush-hour traffic. So as it goes, here come more thoughts, this time on the verge of fear. Not to mention that now I’m down to 32 and haven't even moved an inch! “What if I don’t make it and end up completely running out of gas-oh, that would be embarrassing.” As soon as I had that thought, I looked to the right and saw a different gas station up ahead but immediately dismissed that idea as their prices were way too much at $4.55 per gallon. I just knew I was going to save money at my regular place. Silly. Ridiculous. But, it gets better.
Because I am a persistent, this-is-going-to-work-out kind of gal, I kept my original plan and headed to my go-to place. Smooth sailing. “Ahh, relief” as I pull into the lot with 30 miles left to spare.
However, as I pull into the lane, I look up at the gas prices. $4.69 per gallon?! “How can this be!” After all that! Well, I humble myself and said, “There’s nothing you can do about it, Kel!” You know that head down walk of defeat? Well, there I go inside the gas station to pay for my gas (with cash!) only to notice it was a brand-new company. They painted the outside a different color and I looked up and saw a new sign and logo on the front door. Mind you, the highway sign with the gas prices still had their former name so this confirmed I hadn’t completely lost my mind!
While this became a comical story, full of emotions, rising fears, what-if scenarios, I was still so determined that I needed to remain faithful to my routine, my go-to gas station habit. Why? Well, to save money of course. That is always my why. Ever since I have lived in my area, 10 years now, I have kept this routine. If I had switched things up and paid a higher price (okay, well I actually did in the end!) but to my point, would I have then felt guilty because I paid a higher premium where I knew I could have had it at a discounted rate? Or, on the flip side, what would it have been worth to me to have had peace of mind by paying what I thought was a higher premium at that gas station I passed up?
You know the beauty in all of this, is that my go-to, save my money gas station no longer exists since they changed companies (overnight apparently!), perhaps this is God’s way of reminding me not to sweat the small stuff as He always has a better plan. Do I get back the time I contemplated on all of those thoughts about what to do, will I make it, what-if? No, I don’t. Have I taken this experience and made something new out of it? Yes, I have. Just by reassessing “Why do I do what I do?” for this particular area, I am able to examine, “Hmmm, am I complicating other areas of my life?” Am I thinking too much, am I wasting precious time thinking about things that really don’t matter, am I making the best use of my time with my habits?
One of the best ways to consider what to do when fear, anxiety, worries, or decisions are stealing your emotions and interrupting your thought patterns is to ask yourself, “Will THIS matter this time next year?” “Will I remember THIS in two years?” Often, unknowingly, we sabotage our success due to overthinking, worrying, and letting fear take the wheel. So in order to successfully reach the end goal and outcomes, it’s a beautiful process to remember you can't choose happiness, love, peace, joy at the same time as fear, anxieties, worries, etc. You get to choose what you focus on, how you react, and what matters most.