Changing your finances and other areas of life isn't easy.
Miriam Caldwell wrote in the "Money in Your 20s" section on About.com: “It takes a lot to change your habits, and it often means changing your routine or parts of your life to have success. When it comes to your finances, you need to take an honest look at yourself and your habits to figure out what you are doing to stop yourself from succeeding. It may be something simple to identify like going grocery shopping when you are hungry. Or it may be more complicated like you tend to overspend when you are out with friends."
Randall Ryder at Lawyerist.com wrote about how stuck he was in his routine. Every day it was the same. "Meticulous scheduling helps ensure I am not overwhelmed at the end of the day," he wrote.
But then, one day, he broke his routine. "And it seems to be making me more productive," he wrote. "Working at a different time gave me a fresh perspective, which led to a jolt of energy, which led to some new strategies. Things that I dreaded because they were scheduled for later in the day, were actually fun to work on.
"The problem with a rigid schedule is that it can lull your brain to sleep. It can also constantly make you think about what is next on the schedule, instead of what is in front of you."
The blogger at "Han of Harmony" expressed similar feelings: "I love routines because they are convenient. They help me to get something done without much thought or effort on my part. This means that I can conserve my energy for more important matters. But routines are a double-edged sword. While they have their uses, an over-reliance on them will cause us to be stuck in a rut. To avoid this situation, it is beneficial to changes our routines from time to time."
Those changes, according to the "Han of Harmony" blog, do not need to be big. They can be anything from reading something new to trying a new food.
An article in Science Daily supports the idea that change boosts productivity. A study looked at how the brain responds to novelty. A novel environment "sparks exploration and learning," Science Daily said. The novelty acts "as a motivating bonus to explore an environment in the search for reward rather than being a reward itself."
Preet Banerjee at The Globe and Mail looked at all the strategies to save money (from lowering a thermostat to only flushing a toilet once a day) and concluded, "Forcing myself to change my routine would result in a big payday." To save, routines had to be broken, even, he said, if it feels strange at first.
The Idaho Statesman said changing routines could help people catch more fish. Sharecare.com says changing routines can help people quit smoking. The Bulletin in Oregon says changing routines can improve golf scores.
But every change has a full set of routines that support it. For example, Cathy Herholdt wrote at LiveStrong.com about becoming a "morning person." To get up earlier, a person has to go to bed earlier. "The more sleep you get before midnight," she says, "the better." Other routines supporting this change are to limit caffeine and set the alarm to the same time each morning — including the weekends. Mikey Rox at WiseBread.com talked about how changing his routines increased his energy, productivity and creativity. "There are lots of changes you can make," he said, "— taking another route to work, altering your reading habits, switching the time of day you go to the gym, establishing date nights to enhance your relationship — the list is endless, really. The most important part of changing your routine is that it somehow makes your life better."
Bryan Hough wrote in ezinearticles.com about how changing routines is good for safety. "Mixing things up can prevent you from getting stuck in a rut — and can also keep you safe," he wrote. "It's all about not becoming too predictable. In essence, all you're doing is making little changes to your daily life to reduce the possibility that a potential assailant could use your routine against you."
Hough recommended a few things to mix up a schedule:
Changing your route to work and the time you leave or return.
Shopping at different stores.
Going to different restaurants, cafes or bars.
Changing your work schedule.
Reordering the tasks and chores you do everyday.
On the other hand, there are some risks with changing. Newsmaxhealth.com talked about how the imposed Daylight Savings Time switch in Spring could be bad for health. "Studies show that the stress of simply changing your routine by one hour increases your risk of having a heart attack," Newsmax reported. "In addition, the first Monday of daylight savings time brings a rise in traffic accidents and workplace injuries."
The blogger "Specy" at "me, mine and other bits" found another danger of changing routines when, instead of putting one small child at a time into her car ("Downstairs, Girl1 out to car, back for work bags, Girl2, lock door, go"), she brought both out — and left the front door of her home in Belfast, Northern Ireland wide open for most of the day. Just because a routine is new, doesn't mean it is better.