When we adopted our new puppy a little over a month ago, change was forced upon me. Having this experience has shown me (again) the huge value in changing the way I do things, day in a day out.

I am a big proponent for people getting disciplined and creating routines and structures. However, once you have had the routine for a long time, you start to get into an automatic groove, and get a little stagnant without even realizing it.

Forced change can be good if you embrace it and don’t get resentful. It’s human nature to sometimes get resentful as a first response, and with awareness you can recognize it and even get excited to explore what you might create with the new changes happening in your life.

Chosen change is the other area to remember- especially for those of us with long held routines that are “working”. They may feel like they are working because they are comfortable. Really look at your routines and assess whether or not your routines are still challenging you, or teaching you something. If not, it is time to change it up!

Start with the bookends of the day. A new season, like now with summer fast approaching, is a perfect time to look at this and to make changes.

-Morning: what time are you getting up? What are you doing first, second third, etc? How are these things serving you? How are they adding to your optimal living of your full life? What changes might you make for the next month just to see what happens? Just getting out of your comfort zone is so healthy- your brain and spirit will benefit!

-Evening: What routines are you going through to get yourself ready for a good rest, and therefore a great start to the next day? Do you want to add, tweak, change anything? Maybe your bedtime, or when you turn your phone off, or stop watching screens. Maybe it is what time and what you eat or drink at night. What changes might you make to your evening routine right now? What are you committed to?

Side bar- if you want more on the bookends of your day read one of my favorite books The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

Work on the bookends first. Once you have those dialed in- and it may not be this month- you can start to look at how you could change up your days- how you organize your days, your work, the habits you have, what you do about lunch, etc. Create a vision for how you want your life to be. What do you want?

Change it up and you will feel exhilarated, like with any new beginning, there is energy there to get you excited. Find a way to track your progress, get accountability, and write about what you are doing and how you feel each day. Don’t change everything at one, change a little at a time- even one thing changed at a time.

OR you can really change it up and go big. Know yourself and your personality. Maybe you want a complete overhaul of your bookends and you are just going to go for it! Remember there is no failure, only learning.

Whether change is forced upon you or you choose it- mindset it everything. make sure that you are reading, listening to and watching things that support you. Find the right people to spend time with who support you, and do it for yourself. Being in the pursuit of living your optimal life is the best gift of self love you can give.