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Imagine a typical morning routine: Wake up, brush teeth, head to the gym, shower, eat breakfast, go to work. On the surface, this does not seem dangerous.

In fact, this routine encourages physical activity and productivity important components of a successful morning.

But consider setting an alarm at the same time every day. Running the same amount of laps at the gym. Cooking the same plate of eggs and toast. After only a few months, these activities become mindless.

The purpose of establishing a routine is to combat stress and anxiety. By having a habitual list of tasks each day, a sense of accomplishment is achieved every time an item is completed. It also keeps the day organized and predictable, leaving little room for chaos.

There is, however, a danger in falling into this pattern.

Too much routine creates emptiness by depleting the excitement that comes from existing.

Every activity is a chore; every moment is an extra hurdle. Even ‘me time’ can feel forced and unnecessary.

The key to overcoming this problem while still keeping organized it to practice variety. It sounds simple, but the truth is that variety can lead to discomfort. Finding ways to vary your routine presents a challenge, particularly when it feels

Revisit the typical morning routine mentioned above.

Where can you find variety? For starters, if working out is part of your routine, always vary what exercises you do. Not only does this have physical benefits (giving muscles days to rest), but it also adds an element of adventure.

If you want to start long distance running but are afraid of getting bored or tired, seek out different trails to explore. If you want to build muscle but are sick of lifting weights, try taking a yoga class.

routine

This routine also includes eating breakfast, which is the perfect opportunity to find variety. Having a well-balanced diet doesn’t mean forcing yourself to stomach raw vegetables every morning because they are ‘healthy.’

Seek out different types of fresh and filling meals that you can cook and enjoy. Find time in your routine to experiment with what foods your body likes that have nutritional value. And always remember to treat yourself.

The best way to know if you are creating variety requires self-reflection. Take time to examine how you feel throughout the day, particularly when you fall asleep and right when you wake up. Is there a rush of excitement to get the day started? Or do you dread rolling out of bed?

Opportunities for variety and positivity do not arise from nowhere. They begin and end in the mind. Find something to look forward to each day, and never stop changing your routine.

The second you submit to a mundane existence, you have sacrificed a world of variety and challenge.

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Julie Ciotola is a journalism student at Ohio University with a passion for fitness and nutrition writing. She runs her own blog, Running on Real Fuel, and is involved with Backdrop magazine, a student-run publication. When she is not writing, Julie practices yoga runs long distance and experiments with new recipes.