Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the difference between ruts and routines. I started thinking about this when a friend was planning her birthday celebration, and she decided she wanted to the same restaurant we go to almost every single time we go out together.
Don’t get me wrong—nothing is wrong with this restaurant. The food and the service are both great, and we know a lot of the staff, so we usually get extra-special treatment. However, I feel like this being our “go-to” restaurant sometimes prevents us from trying new places that might be equally as good (or *gasp* even better).
We are stuck in a restaurant rut.
In my opinion, a routine is a sequence of habits that we repeat over and over again in our daily life. For example, I have a morning routine that I repeat daily. The first thing I do when I wake up is take the dogs outside, and then I turn on the coffeemaker. While the coffee brews, I take my shower. As Ryan and I get dressed for work, we watch the morning news… See what I mean? This is my regular M-F routine. It’s comfortable for me, and it’s how I start each day during the work-week.
Habits are, in my opinion, helpful. But ruts… ruts can be dangerous and crippling. Okay, maybe that’s a bit drastic, but I really think ruts cause complacency, and complacency can lead to boredom.
To me, a rut is a behavior or a set of behaviors that we unconsciously allow ourselves to repeat because we are so comfortable with them. In the beginning, these behaviors may bring us satisfaction, but eventually they become mundane and way too predictable. Besides the same-restaurant-all-the-time rut we’ve been in, our Friday/Saturday night plans were stuck in a bit of a rut over the summer. And truthfully, it was mostly my fault.
Ryan and I are not the type of couple who stays out late drinking. Spending hours at a restaurant or bar simply isn’t our “scene.” Now, this summer, I became really addicted to the TV show, Live PD, which airs every Friday and Saturday night. Our rut started when I was eager to get home after Friday night dinners (often at that one same spot) so that we could watch our show at 9pm. And then somehow, the same thing ended up happening on Saturday nights, too.
Doing this isn’t necessarily a bad thing occasionally, but there are so many other fun things we could be doing on Friday and Saturday nights. We could go walk on the beach, we could attend different free events around town, we could go to the movies—something besides sit at home and watch TV!
I’m really trying to keep us from getting stuck in ruts now. Routines = good. Ruts = bad. I have no desire for us to become an “old married couple” too soon. We may not want to hang out at the bar, but we’re still in our twenties! We need to be out and about, living life.
What routines do you have? Are you mistaking ruts for routines? Do you want to break free from your ruts and try new things? Do it with me! I’ve already got a list of exciting, adventurous things Ryan and I can do in the coming weeks, and we’ve got a fun trip coming up in early October!
Comment below, and share the ruts you’ve been stuck in and what you’re going to do to break free from them! I have faith that you can do it!