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Return by Stepping Away from Routine

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

When was the last time you stepped away? Reflection is something promoted during this time of year, especially around the New Year, but how many of us do it? Many people, it seems, are frazzled and too busy with work, family, shopping and socializing to spend some quiet time with themselves. It seems antithetical to our connectivity culture, particularly at this time of year.

This said I highly recommend you – even challenge you – to step away, whether it’s for an hour, a day or for a week. Anything to break your routine and interrupt the pattern. I made a decision to step away in December 2014 and work out a new direction. I knew I could not continue on the same dissatisfying path in education. I was not only unfulfilled, I was also breaking down and burnt out. It was then when I figured out I wanted to be a coach. I love to serve but I wanted to do it on my own. If I had not stepped away, I would have remained an extra in the movie Groundhog Day: repeating the same ol’ dismal day behind the scenes. For it to be effective, I made sure I prioritized just me time without distractions … no phone, people, or laptop, just me.

My clients have also stepped away to gain clarity and perspective. Their step away was to hire me to focus on them. Not every pause looks the same. For some it is having a bath, meditating, exercising or going away (to name a few). One of my clients loves outdoor activities, especially camping. He came back from a camping trip in the summer and realized he loves reading but doesn’t do so much at home. He then made a commitment to stop everything else and start reading at 8 pm every night; a simple thing that brings him joy and a way to unwind from his day.

Some of you are probably thinking, “Well, that’s nice but I don’t have time or money to step away.” Yes, not everybody has the time or money for a trip or a day off; however, most people can carve out an hour of their day (i.e. wake up earlier) or do something small (i.e. take a different route to work) to interrupt their daily routine. I also believe it is about priority management, not time management. If something is really important to you then you will most likely make it happen.

If stepping away sounds like a good idea to you then here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • digital detox for a day (no phones, computer, etc.)

  • schedule you time with no distractions

  • journal

  • go for a walk or run without music

  • find a coach

Creating pause and reflection in your life allows you to get clear so you can take action in the right direction or simply see things in a different light. In no way am I recommending a person to step away for too long as it may have adverse effects - like creating a new identity or running away to Vegas to join the top gamblers! You would have to determine what feels right, keeping in mind any commitments.

If you like the idea but are not in the habit of taking time for yourself or are uncomfortable with your own company, see stepping away as a way to do something different than a full-on reflection session. Start somewhere and go from there. What’s one thing you can do to step away today or this week? You will break open your insights when you break open your pattern.

Best and Happy Holidays,

Ps. If you would like to step away and struggle to do it on your own, sign up for a complimentary Get Acquainted Call to see if I can help.

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