image clockI go for a long bike ride with my husband every Sunday— weather permitting. At this point in the season, we’re now up to about 65 miles each time we ride. We don’t always leave at the same time, but we do follow the same route on the bike trail each week. When we get past the turn-off and to the overhead pass, I always search for Tennis Man.


Every week on our route, there’s a man that volleys against a concrete wall. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I search for Tennis Man as soon as I turn the curve. No matter the time, he never lets me down. He must be practicing for hours.


Last week, I noticed that he started waving to us as we approached. He yelled hello and commented on how long we had been seeing each other. I hadn’t realized that he looked for us as much as we look for him.


Passing Tennis man had become one of the things that we counted on. We knew that once we passed him, we had a certain many miles to go to get to the next landmark. Seeing him always gave me a sense of comfort— something that I could count on. In fact, when Tennis Man was missing, things just didn’t seem right.


Seeing Tennis man had definitely become a part of our weekly routine.


That’s exactly the role that having routines can play in your life. They become something that you count on, something that actually gives you a sense of comfort. In fact, when you change that routine, you can feel like something important is missing. The problem is that often we carry routines in our work and private life beyond their expiration date.


What do I mean by that? I am referring to those routines that are mainstays in your lives, but no longer serve any sort of purpose. You simply continue to do them because you always did them. You keep them because they give you continuity in your life. On top of that, having them makes you feel good.


However, they can sometimes hold us back from our goals and finding success.


Maybe you have a routine of getting up in the morning and sitting in front of the computer to mindlessly check your social media. Maybe you have a routine of going out with the same group of friends every Saturday night. Maybe one of your routines is coming home and turning on the television after a long day of work. Or maybe, your routine is eating the same lunch at your desk every single day at work.


Some of your daily routines have been a part of your life forever and you don’t give much thought to changing them. The point is that some of your routines are positive actions in your life and move you toward success. However, some of your routines stand in the way of you achieving the very goals you are working toward. That knowledge doesn’t occur to you on a daily basis but if you took a birds eye view of your life, that is what you might see.


I am asking you to take that step back, and do an inventory of your daily life. Make a list of what your typical day consists of— work and play, and honestly decide whether your routines are pushing you closer or farther from your goals.


Make sure that you daily actions align with what you strive to achieve in life.


Yesterday, I traveled to Columbus to visit my sister. It was her birthday and I wanted to take her out to lunch. After discussing our many options, we settled on our destination and made our way to the restaurant. As we were walking to the door, she commented on my shorts.


“Are you wearing white shorts because it’s the last day you can wear them?” She then shared that that was why she had decided to wear her white shorts. This was the last time she could have them on until next year because it was Labor Day. I thought about her comment for a few seconds before responding to her statement.  I replied that it really hadn’t occurred to me that this was my last wearing before I was forced to put my shorts in the drawer.


Mind you, I said all of this with a smirk on my face and a sarcastic tone. I then asked her why it was acceptable to wear a white shirt anytime of the year, but white on the bottom half of your body was unacceptable after Labor Day?  This last question didn’t bode well with her.  She shared that she didn’t care what I decided to do, but she always abides by the rule.


The next morning, I woke up and went to work out. After my shower, I perused my closet to decide what to wear. I caught sight of my white pants and replayed in my head the whole conversation from the day before.  With a smile on my face, I grabbed the pants off the hanger and proudly put them on.


Yes, it was quite a rebellious act.  I was wearing my white pants the day after Labor Day! I tried to pay attention during the day to see if anything unusual would transpire from this risky decision. I don’t want to disappoint you, but absolutely nothing happened.   No one stopped and told me that I had to go home and change. The waitress did not refuse to serve me lunch at the restaurant.  I didn’t see one stare or whisper about my lack of fashion sense. In fact, I felt incredibly sassy all day.


I suppose the big question to ponder is this:

Why do women abide by rules that make absolutely no sense? Why wouldn’t you do what feels right to you? Why wouldn’t you just trust your own judgment?


It’s very possible that you were, like many women, taught at a young age to be agreeable and follow the rules. You were probably encouraged to please others and were rewarded for doing so.  Even if you’ve become strong and confident, it’s easy to fall back into old patterns. You might blindly adhere to the rules that others have set for you without giving thought as to whether they make any sense at all.


The happiest and most successful women in life are able to identify when they should follow the rules and when they should break them.  Now that I think about it, the happiest women know how to MAKE the rules!