Simplify Life with Habits

habits rut to run in“You need a rut to run in.”

When I read that years ago in a book about home education, I bristled. A rut? People get stuck in ruts and never change, never take risks, never explore new possibilities. Ruts feel like tedium. Monotony. Boredom. Ruts seem unimaginative and unattractive. Everything in me yearned to break out of any rut I might run the risk of tumbling into—my random-abstract personality craved variety and spontaneity for myself and my kids.

I wanted us to experience a life of adventure, flexible enough to enjoy exploring the world of science and art and literature in novel ways, so to speak. I had an overall vision and plenty of books to support my ideas, but I didn’t want to feel constrained and I didn’t want the kids to feel that way, either. I wanted my kids to grow up with a sense of curiosity, adventure, and freedom. No ruts for us, no way.

But the longer I home educated, the more I came to realize that a rut—formed by established routines and habits—would simplify life. If we had a rut to run in, we wouldn’t have to reinvent every single day. If we established a routine, the kids could wake up and know what to expect. They could get straight to work on sequential, daily subjects like math, handwriting, or spelling. Well-conceived, a routine could provide a sense of peace, order and regularity—a steadying framework. After too many inefficient, unpredictable mornings, they began to crave a rut to run in. And as much as I resisted—as much as I hated to admit it—so did I…

My writing partner, colleague, and friend Charity Singleton Craig invited me to write about my word of the week over at her place. Click through to read the rest of the article.

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  • Comments

    1. I love my rut! Awesome post!

    2. I’ve never thought to much about my habits till now. When we lived near the lake in Chicago I forced myself to walk in the morning no matter how cold and watch the sunrise.
      I don’t have the same view, but the birds sing, the sun rises, and the cold air feels great. The early morning habit has served me well

      • Several famous writers cite a daily walk as one of the most important habits. I have such a hard time stepping foot outside on these frigid mornings–I always admired how tough you were in that northern climate, trudging through snow to enjoy the lake in all kinds of weather. You inspire.

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