Routines & Habits | A New Season of Life

This dream come true is quite true to what I expected it to be thus far.

Living in the forest by the lake near the ocean
is still the greatest decision ever.


And, at the same time, I brought about 99.9% of the struggles I had before right along with me.

Not to mention the expected new struggles- poor phone reception, laughable wifi, and the unexpected struggle of literally not wanting to do anything.

Seriously- even the writing I came here to do. Client work for Revived Socials (my side hustle). All the things- even just getting out of bed has been this battle where that incredibly noisy and persuasive voice in my head digs her heels in and resists accomplishing one single thing.

I fought the dragging of my own feet really hard…

I figured I was just resisting letting myself enjoy this amazing experience- I knew I didn’t feel like I deserved it or like I’d done enough to be so happy…

So thanks to what was going on in my head, my first week or two alone here were just this miserable cycle of naturally waking early- dreading actually having to do anything and instead laying in bed for another 4 hours- then feeling frustrated and ashamed of myself for the entire rest of the day until I could finally justify going back to bed (ie. until 7:50p.m. when I could climb into bed like the respectable old lady I am at my core).

I knew there was mindset work I needed to do, but I was stuck in the spiral. And I was really tired.
(Hello darkness, my old friend! hahaha… for real though. It was a moody moment.)

I was getting a lot of writing done, but the piece I’m working on right now is a tough one full of heavy feels, so it just brought me down lower to work on that without any sparkles in my day. I bought coffees and chatted with sweet baristas and coffeeshop owners to soothe my self- but throwing money I barely have at problems coffee can’t possibly fix has never really worked out for me, despite my best efforts. (It’s okay, you can laugh. I’ve embraced the cold reality there- LOL!)

Anyway, I was freakin’ miserable while living my dream.

So, obviously something had to give.

And then something started to click for me:

Habits and routines would make this all SO much easier.

Except… I’m so quick to feel trapped in a routine!

In the past I’ve gotten a couple days into it and felt so accomplished, and then been like “okay that was fun, bye!!” and ditched the whole routine thinking I could just skip along my merry little way. Naturally, I’d crash and burn again within a couple weeks and feel all disappointed and annoyingly humbled as I started back at square one. So I was asking myself how to create a routine I don’t feel trapped in…

And then one of my favorite clients- and now one of my most treasured teachers in life- Carly, radiant mama and creator of the The Habit, said something that clicked. In the beginning of her Everyday Ayurveda course (which I highly recommend!), she explained how habits are meant to be a B- kinda thing (not an A+, which is a struggle for my lil inner perfectionist)…

So… get this: 80% of the time, we want to do the thing.
There’s a really cool word for this concept, but I’m gonna make you reach out to ask her about it yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

As the recovering queen of all-or-nothing, I couldn’t quite accept that. But then she kept going! She talked about how our whole entire lives don’t need to be this stiff, solid routine we do 100% of the time- but that by making the things we have to do every day into habits, it frees our minds up from making decisions about things that are basically inevitable.

Like brushing our teeth- that’s a no-brainer morning and night, right? Not some exhausting thing we lay in bed dreading doing or contemplating if it’s worth it that day or how to get out of it. We just DO brush our teeth.

That was such a *lightbulb* moment for me. Like woah- I can just habitually get up and take my dogs out without having to think about it or dread it?

I can just create a habit of making breakfast instead of having to convince myself to do it and resist the effort for hours?

I can just create a ritual of tidying the kitchen before bed- instead of having to force myself to do it at the end of a long day?

I love writing. I love creating new things and running my businesses. I love feeling good in my body.

And now that I’m alone more often than not, it’s been more of a struggle to do some of the most basic things. But this whole habit thing really excites me- I know my best writing pours out early in the mornings. I know I feel best in my body when I’m hydrated, I’ve been outside, I’ve done my treatments for cystic fibrosis, I’ve eaten well, etc. I totally over-romanticize the concept of having daily rituals and routines, but even putting aside my dreamy vision of it, I really love a healthy dose of consistency- and I think this is just what I need to help grow that confidence I’ve been missing in a few areas of my life.

So to make all the daily must-do’s and really-really-want-to-do’s a habitual part of my day just sounds like yet another dream come true…

Because imagine how much more willing I’m going to be to go out on adventures- to visit the ocean on a whim, to go hike that gorgeous Hobbit Trail, to spend an extra hour on the lake… if I’m not exhausted before noon from all the tough decisions and self-discipline I’ve had to implement all day.

I’m building new habits to free up space in my mind, to keep my body healthy, and to revive that sense of wonder I miss so much.

So, there’s your rambly backstory. And here’s something for you in case you are reading this like I crawled right inside your head. I got you covered.

If you’ve struggled to start habits or daily rituals and it’s something you want to bring into your life:

Something I’ve done to set myself up for success is joining a group program. I’m actually in two- I started with a morning routine program, which I highly recommend! Starting with your morning helps you create time and space in your day for everything you want to implement and start off on the right foot.

Here is the morning routine program I joined in August! She Aligns by Niki Shepler. Niki is an incredible coach and such an inspiring and kindhearted woman. (Btw: this is not an affiliate link- I’m just sharing what I love!) I’m so grateful for her impact on my journey already. Her program includes a full course along with video lessons, workbooks, group calls, weekly group check-in messages, and a private discussion forum packed with endless inspiration and mind-blowing journal prompts.

Another thing you can do to set yourself up for success is hire a private coach or mentor that aligns with your learning style and the sort of change you want to create in your life!

I offer these services here if you’d like more details on that!

For inspirational purposes, here are some of the habits I’m working on right now:

  1. Getting out of bed by 8am! (My actual goal is 5:30am because I naturally wake up around 5:20 anyway… but I like to have a legit goal and then a stretch goal that is more relaxed for fun! So 9am is the must- but 5:30am is pretty freakin’ sweet.)

  2. Eating my largest meal before 3pm (This is an Ayurveda thing- and I notice I feel a LOT better when I have just a light dinner. I sleep better, I don’t get heartburn. I tend to crave healthier foods. It’s a win all around. Also this prevents me from binge-eating cottage cheese at 11:23p.m. like the monster I once was.)

  3. Walk my dogs twice per day- by 10am and before 5pm! (I have a yapper and a dog that bites, so I usually get all stressed out and frazzled. I want to create this habit because I used to resent getting up in the morning specifically because I’d walk the dogs first thing and it was so stressful. Now? I just take the dogs for a really quick out first thing- and we go for our walk after I’ve had time to do my morning routine and feel good in my own skin for a sec. And in the evening, instead of getting all stressed out closer to 7pm before bed, I can take them out in the afternoon when I have the most energy, and I actually enjoy it too!)

  4. Write every day. (This is my thing!)

  5. Meal planning each week (I’ve always kinda resisted this concept, but I’m going to give it a go and see what happens! I always feel like I have NOTHING to eat, even right after a grocery trip. So I’m hoping this will help my grocery budget, help me actually eat enough, and take the effort of major decision making out of mealtimes!)

I’m sure the habits will shift and rotate as things start to really sink in and become second nature, or as my priorities and the seasons shift. That’s something else I’ve realized: just because I build something into my daily routine doesn’t mean I’ll be stuck doing it for the rest of my life. I can change course any time I please. But in the meantime? I’ll enjoy a little consistency to balance out my head-in-the-clouds approach to most of life. My intention for these new habits are to ground myself in a way that creates space in my life for even more spontaneity and serendipity.

So there you have it! This Libra is embracing habits.

That’s all for now- see you next week!


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Jessica PenaComment