Jordan Peterson On The Importance Of Routine

The body, with it’s various parts, needs to function like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Every system must play its role properly, and at exactly the right time, or noise and chaos ensue. It is for this reason that routine is so necessary. The acts of life we repeat every day need to be automatized. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity and gain predictability and simplicity. This can be perceived most clearly in the case of small children, who are delightful and comical and playful when their sleeping and eating schedules are stable, and horrible and whin and nasty when they are not.

Most people are disconnected from their bodies. We disrespect ourselves far too much by eating horrible food, sitting too much, not stretching enough, drinking sugar and alcohol instead of water, sleeping too little and exercising minimally and then we wonder why we don’t feel good.

Why we feel depressed.

Why we feel so stressed out or anxious.

Of course, the cure isn’t always as simple as fixing your bad habits but sometimes it is and at the very least, it’s a good place to start. To get out of your head and get into your body.

It is for such reasons that I always ask my clinical clients first about sleep. Do they wake up in the morning at approximately the time the typical person wakes up, and at the same time every day? If the answer is no, fixing that is the first thing I recommend. It doesn’t matter so much if they got to bed at the same time each evening, but waking up at a consistent hour is a necessity. Anxiety and depression cannot be easily treated if the sufferer has unpredictable daily routines.

Don’t make life more complicated than it has to be.

Don’t make it more stressful than it has to be.

You can look at a routine like your foundation. With everything, if the foundation is faulty, weak, full of cracks, whatever you build upon it won’t last.

There aren’t many things in life we can control. Sometimes you are just given a bad hand and you just have to deal with it. One of the few things we do have control over is our actions and our attitudes. We can act in a manner that is beneficial for us, such as: eating healthy food (most of the time), drink ingwater, exercising at least four times a week and getting consistent sleep. Get your basis covered so you have the energy to face the uncertain and the random which is life. It’s so simple and still, so few people actually exercise their control.

Once we accept what’s in our control and what isn’t, what burden we have to carry, what responsibilities we must live up to, it is essential that our foundation is solid. Otherwise, we are just helping life hurt us and life doesn’t require our help to do that.

To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality.

A routine is then a precursor to generating this productive and meaningful reality, to bring order into your life, to give life its structure, so we can “face the demands of life voluntarily”.

Book referenced: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson

Youtube: Learned Living


Poem: Outside/Inside

Article: The Black Swan and Seeking Randomness

Short Story: Everything Work’s Itself Out

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