Thursday, May 04, 2006

Building Routine

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Routine is a MEGA advantage for BiPolars. ESPECIALLY if you don't work a 9 to 5 job like BPG doesn't.

It's a no-brainer when you think about it. Us BiPolars are all over the place from week to week, day to day, hey, sometimes even hour to hour. Ships drifting on rollicking seas without any anchors. So the way I see it, each time you establish a daily routine item (no matter how small) you are throwing out a little anchor. Call it what you like - a familiar point, a handhold on a cliff, a buoy, a flashing beacon.

Probably the best thing I've done for myself this year is establish some daily routine items. So I thought I'd share how I went about it. Not that I'm a Dr. Phil or anything but shit it worked for me.


  1. Start off with a little (and easy) thing you want to do every day. If you can set the same time for it every day, well & good, but it's not critical. At present I try do most of my routines the same time, but it's not always possible so I allow fleixiblity providing I stick to the golden rule: DO IT EVERY DAY
  2. Like anything, it's the first couple days that are the hardest. But it gets easier and easier as time goes by. Here's why: The longer you keep up your unbroken routine the more sacred it becomes. It's easier to break a routine that's been going for 4 days than one which has been going every day for 4 years. Ever met one of those people that have done something (e.g. walk the dogs, take a morning swim, go to the same coffee shop) every day for 5 or 6 years. I gaurantee ya they'll carry on doing it EVERY darn day unless they're practically comatose. And that acheivement will be one of the proudest in their lives (which is why they probably told you about it in the first place).
  3. Once you've got your first little routine item going, i.e. after about 2 months, you can then add another routine item. The second should be a lot easier. But whatever you do don't sabotage the first item if the second one fails. Sometimes our ambitions outstrip practicalities (especially if you came up with the routine idea in a "YeeeHaaa" state), and after a couple days you realise: "My fck, I'm NEVER gonna keep up with this dumb-arse shite". Well that's OK. Drop it, but don't EVER, EVER drop the other ones you have established at the same time. Keep what ya got!

Here's the current routine items I'm doing:

  • Get out of bed between 5.00 and 5h30 in the morning and make tea for Mrs M and self.
  • Feed the zoo (Socrates, Scallywag and Leroy the cat).
  • Meditate. The above 2 I've been doing for about 5 years now but they're no great orgasm - I mean you gotta get out of bed and the pets gotta get fed. The really big VOLUNTARY routine that I established this year was daily meditation. And yes, I haven't skipped a day in 3 months. I try meditate at the same time every day, ideally about 6.15 am, but I'm not a militant about it. The focus, as I've said, is the DOING it on the day, not WHEN on that day.
  • Based on my success with daily meditation I started doing a walk on the beach every day too. So far I've gone uninteruppted for 10 days. The beachwalk is a bit more complicated as there are weather conditions thrown in, but I've already had 2 days in the rain and once I've got the new rain pants I'm planning I reckon I'll keep it up. The best time I like beach walking is at about 10 am but I'm also governed by the tides because the beach is much flatter and harder at low tide. (NB: I must add a proviso here - this routine is still young and I haven't had a "Got-a-Gun" day since it started. The acid test will be "Got-a-Gun" on a rainy day. Acid rain?)
  • I'm planning on throwing another little routine in from next week: 30 sit-ups a day. I reckon I can do it.

So there you go. Get off your goddam arses and build your routines.


  1. I feel like such a flake. I did meditate for about a week & then without realizing it, I stopped. I didn't even remember I was supposed to be meditating til like 2 weeks later. This is my usual routine. CRAP!

  2. This is wonderful advice as I am right at the point in my life that I am making and NEEDing new routines in order to have sanity in my life as I switch from working to not. And I find myself making them slowly as not to overwhelm myself, a key issue for me.
    I'd love to see a picture of Leroy. I didn't know you had a cat!

  3. Routines really work well for me too and are practically necesary what wth raising a five year old by myself and all, but sometimes external factors other than the weather do get in the way. I stopped working out last week because they moved the gym here on campus and put in new machines. I was going to the old one but they closed that one May 1st and the new leg press is too short for my long legs while the arm curl has a metal bar that whacks me in the forehead. They also want me to bring along an extra pair of shoes! I think I'll go back to my old push-ups/sit-ups combo. Twenty and fifty should do for a start. And I'm buying a bicycle if the yellow dust from China ever decides to stay put!


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