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SCHEDULE IT OR FORGET IT!! THE ART OF RITUAL IS FOR GROWNUPS!!


"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11. "The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily." Mike Murdock. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." Mark 1:35.


It became apparent to me one day in my life (around my late teens, early twenties) that I had to grow up around finances if I was ever going to get some of the "big ticket" items (house, car, education, not necessarily in this order) that I believed made for a more comfortable life. It was a rude awakening when I discovered that more immediately I had to grow up around finances period if I wanted to pay rent on time and have sufficient money for groceries and carfare to get to work. I remember a time, guess I was about 18 or 19 years of age when I would have $5.00 in the bank and take out $2.00. I had just been hired as a secretary and was working for Hearst Publications in downtown Manhattan on West 57th Street.


There was someone, a con artist of course, going around trying to con people out of their savings by walking up to them on the streets and asking them to take their money out of the bank and mix it with his. (Why anyone would do this is beyond me, but some people did fall for this. It was reported on the news). This person (a male) actually approached me on the street and asked me to do this. Initially, I wanted to burst out laughing. If he only knew. I think I may have had a dollar or two in the bank at the time. Back then, you could keep the account open with a buck. I walked away, of course. "Don't go through life, grow through life." Eric Butterworth. Things are different now. I am certainly not bragging, just showing how much I have grown in my thinking and in my actions. My banking is better now thanks to routine saving. Of course, nowadays you cannot have a bank account with $5.00 in it. So thankful for small things.


Alas, there are so many areas in life where we can find ourselves not quite grown. Well, I can speak for myself. Lack of order has led to some chaos, in a manner of speaking. Forgetting important dates and events due to my negligence in keeping track has been a nuisance. But, more problematic has been my laissez-faire attitude of approaching and/or implementing some of the steps outlined in my action plan designed around my goals. In other words, I have great plans, but I have not elevated their execution to the level of ritual. I have not committed them to a schedule and therefore, they are not routine. There, I said it. My personal trainer Michelle will be proud of me. She will be more proud of me when I schedule that fourth workout day. So will I.

My goals will certainly be realized in a more timely fashion. On a serious note, Michelle has advised me that by visibly, physically scheduling a time for workout sessions, I am creating a space for it in my life so that it becomes a part of my routine to accomplish my goal of living healthier physically and emotionally. According to researchers, routine will be elevated to a ritual which is viewed as more meaningful practices which have a real sense of purpose.


Collectively, we groan at the impact of global warming. We are upset when it is too hot when we are in a season when we expect snow. We have come to understand that there is an order to the universe, and when we perceive it to be out of order, so are we, and the world for that matter. The warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature, posing many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on earth. Wild fires, flooding and landslides are destroying homes and communities, costing billions of dollars. Water is becoming scarce in more regions. Droughts can stir destructive sand and dust across continents. Deserts are expanding, reducing land for growing food. Many people now face the threat of not having enough water on a regular basis. This is just the tip of iceberg when it comes to the ill effects of global warming. Sadly, our actions have exacerbated the problem, if not created it.


What happens when our life is out of order? I am not being cavalier or facetious when I pose this question. I am quite serious. The answer is concisely, you can do great harm to yourself if you permit your life to be out of order. Lack of order can lead to stress. Without going too deeply into it, we all know that stress can kill (literally). Routine leads to better stress levels and improved mental health, more time to relax, and less anxiety. The excess time you spend and the angst that you generate when you know you are behind schedule, fail to schedule, are unprepared, procrastinate, purposely neglect a project, overlook important appointments, loosely follow up on important undertakings, etc., is not worth the toll it takes on your physical and mental health. Grow up, please!


As a reminder, stress can lead to being less motivated, withdrawal from life; not to mention depression and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, unfocused and more. A lack of healthy stress management can lead to heart disease, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure, constant worry, lack of sleep, problems with memory and concentration and so on. Further, mental and emotional signs of stress impacts how you think and feel, making it hard to get through normal responsibilities and to make rational decisions. I am not trying to scare you, but if that is what it takes, then so be it. Remember, I am talking to me also. Real talk, if you find yourself feeling physically or mentally out of sorts, please get to your doctor immediately. He or she will know if further steps are needed and/or if the services of a specialist are warranted.


At this point you may be thinking that I am exaggerating. The truth is, I am not. Remember the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back?" We know that a straw can hardly break the back of anything less more a camel's back. It is all the things that were piled on and not addressed until all it took was something weighing almost nothing for the camel's back to break, proverbially speaking. It means the "final straw" when we can no longer tolerate a situation. "Failure to plan is planning to fail." Benjamin Franklin. Planning involves establishing routines that keep our life goals in view as we strive to attain them. Our failure to face the fact that we must make plans and take action to execute such plans in a timely and efficient way will "break our proverbial "will" if not our proverbial "back." Think on that if you will.


You will note in the scripture above, Jesus had established routines. His routine of daily prayer was extremely important, and He set aside time to engage in this practice which was so instrumental to His ministry through which we have been monumentally blessed. We, too, need routines if we are to accomplish our goals.


It has been said that a habit (a routine) takes 21 or 30 days to form. There are other schools of thoughts on this, but I say if you are committed to developing a routine, doing something consistently for 21 or 30 days it is a good start. If it does nothing else, it shows that you have given thought to the matter and want to make a change in your life by taking action and dismissing lip service. Here are some helpful thoughts.


  1. Organize important dates, appointments, meetings, commitments, and events - this includes making short-term and longterm plans- from taking medication on time daily to attending an annual gala.

  2. Schedule such obligations on a calendar or in a planner that you keep on your desk or in your phone.

  3. Keep your plans in plain sight, on a desk calendar, wall calendar, etc., and frequently check. Out of sight is out of mind.

  4. Set reminders on your phone or in your computer. For those of us who are technologically challenged, or not as skilled as others, you can get some colorful post-its and adhere them on the refrigerator or to the mirror in your bedroom, or wherever you have occasion to look at often.

  5. Reward yourself for following through. This may seem like we are reverting to childish behavior, but not so. We are programmed to receive acknowledgment for the smallest of achievements beginning in kindergarten for good behavior to winning an Oscar for being the best in our chosen craft. You get my drift. You do not have to be elaborate, but there is nothing wrong with a little pat on the back. You can treat yourself to an aroma therapy bubble bath or a new pen. You decide. Just do something. It really is a big deal or at the very least commendable to set a goal, create an action plan, schedule the action and follow though.

  6. It really is okay to honor small milestones. You would do it for someone else. My grandson James earns A's and B's (mostly A's) on his report card. He already knows that his grandma (me) is waiting with a big smile and an open wallet to reward him for that. I know he should be earning these great grades without reward, but he is my grandbaby (he is twelve), and I will spoil him if I want to. Seriously, I want him to know that education is important and something of value that will serve him well in the future, and my reward to him is to provide encouragement for him to keep on excelling. Rewarding yourself essentially is saying Kudos! Keep up the good work! It is also incentive to keep going.

"God is a God of order. " 1 Corinthians 14:33. God's universe is orderly. He created everything in an orderly sequence. Consider how the sun rises and sets and how the seasons change. Consider how the human body is fearfully and wonderfully made. Man cannot create such an orderly, fully efficient, superbly functioning and masterful, detailed specimen. God has planned creation to eternity with his magnificent plan and powerful hand. God desires that we live orderly lives. He desires that we worship in an orderly fashion. "For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace - as in all the congregations of the Lord's people." 1 Corinthians 14:33. In this scripture, the apostle Paul is giving instructions to the Corinthians on how to worship in an orderly fashion.


We should start with prayer, followed by a plan. More importantly, we must take the necessary actions to respect ourselves and the plan by crystalizing it; write it down and follow what you have written in an orderly and disciplined fashion. In other words, make it a part of your daily routine if you are serious about getting it done. Routine becomes ritual, which means that you have now made the commitment to follow through. It is entirely up to you what you do, if you want to.


Children never want to stop playing, it is too much fun laughing and being silly. Hey, cut them some slack, they are children. But, there comes a time when we must put away childish things. It is called adulthood. Grow up and reap the benefits of grown folks! -- ROUTINIZE YOUR LIFE!! RITUAL WILL FOLLOW!!


Love yourself enough to create and maintain order in your life!


Yours, Yvette


Thank you for your continued support. You inspire me to do better and to be better. So grateful. God bless you!! Remember, you can comment at vttlane@gmail.com


You can also check out my advice column at AskYvette1@gmail.com - Please feel free to send in a letter. Thank you again.



















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