I have said this many times, and I still believe it to this day; some of the best things that have happened to me are not going to something but leaving something. 

I believe this because it allows you to look at what wasn’t working or consider something new to try as you move into create new routines.

Simply going to a new job, moving to a new place, or starting a new relationship doesn’t improve your life if you go back to the routines you had done before. Even if we were unhappy in our former situation, we could fall right back into the patterns that make the “new” opportunity eerily similar to the old.

The changes you initiate, not that you expect, are what will bring you new results.

For example, when I moved from one school district to another, a little change that I made that triggered something new in me was wearing a tie to my classroom every single day. I believe there is more to any teacher than the way they dress, but putting on that tie before I even got into my car to drive to work put my mind into a subtle shift to begin my day. I wanted my career to go in a different direction from where it was headed, and this little routine shift put my mindset into another place. 

When I started doing it, it was simply for the sake of, “I want to wear a tie to work every day.” Nothing more, nothing less. But that simple routine changed something in my attitude and mindset that helped me in my new role. I didn’t realize it then, but hindsight is 20/20, and so much changed for me in that new opportunity, and it was the little changes I made to myself, not just entering a new environment, that made the difference. A blank slate was provided, but I took that canvas and drew a different picture of what I wanted to be, not what I had been.

As I have moved to a new city, what routine changes have I made?

A little practice I have shared is walking my dogs every morning and night before they go to bed. I have had dogs since my first day of teaching, but having the blessing of backyards mixed with insanely frigid temperatures for a significant portion of the year, has made dog walking something that was a treat rather than a norm.

But here, the weather is not an excuse, and I committed to this practice twice daily.

Not only does this time in the morning bring me peace and an opportunity to visualize the day ahead, but my dogs also love it. In fact, both of my dogs are “seniors,” and they have been acting like puppies, wagging their tails vigorously every morning and night as they recognize the patterns of their new routine. They have not seemed this happy in years, and I am so glad I started doing this since moving to a new location.

This has actually led to more time with my kids during the day.  I am more intentional about spending quality time with them as opposed to the time (and often energy) I have left after work.  Strangely enough, that walk with the dogs in the morning sets the tone for how I interact with my family during the day.

So here’s the lesson I am picking up from this new practice. Creating new routines cannot only make you better but, ultimately, those around you as well. Whether it is your family, colleagues, or even animal friends, initiating something new in yourself can lead to something better for others.

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