Tammy Strobel (3/5)

How to Revamp your routine

Tammy Strobel is a writer, photographer, and teacher. She created her blog in late 2007 to improve her writing and to share her story. In her third blog she shares her story about how to revamp your routine. 

How we live our days is, of course, how we live our lives.
— Annie Dillard

During the summer of 2014, I had to revamp my work and exercise routine. We experienced a heat wave in northern California, with temperatures climbing to over 100 degrees during the month of July. By the end of July, wildfires raged throughout northern California, leaving residents with smoky air and falling ash. I felt as if we were living in a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie because the smoke was so thick.

Typically, I write in the morning and then spend the afternoons brainstorming projects or taking photo walks. However, that wasn’t a possibility during July and August of 2014 because of the poor air quality.

As a result of the heat and fires, I had to revamp my routine. I decided to join a local gym and take long walks on the treadmill. Going to the gym and getting out of the smoke made me happier. Furthermore, I felt creative and inspired to do good work. In addition, the smoky weather prompted weekend getaway trips with my husband, which were fun and refreshing. Thankfully, the fires stopped burning in September of 2014, and I started going for long hikes in the forest again. However, the weather has now become cooler, which forces me to reevaluate my daily routine again.

If you want to revamp your routine but aren’t sure where to begin, I have a few ideas for you below.

1. Don’t wait for the perfect plan to emerge. Instead, focus on one actionable change you want to make, and go for it. The key is starting small. Below are two ideas to consider.

Take a different route to work, either in your car or by bike. Start small by researching new routes.
Begin your day with a journal entry, rather than checking email. Start small by writing a gratitude list in your journal.

2. Remember, this is about you. Making the choice to reinvent your routine should be fun and inspiring. Pick activities that you enjoy and want to engage in.

3. Be flexible. Sometimes our days don’t go according to plan, and that’s okay. Be flexible with your time, with your schedule, and with yourself.

Parting words …
There is tremendous value in developing daily creative rituals because routines help me complete projects. However, making small changes to my daily routine fuels my creativity and helps me cope with larger changes that will inevitably happen in my life.

Tammy hiking, photo by Heidi Larsen.