“Comfort in Sameness” Perfectly Describes Why Are Routines Important

Photo: Getty Images/Granger Wootz
Call me boring, but I live for a daily routine. Without one, I spiral into a sea of anxiety and bad decisions. Perhaps this is why I deeply relate to Ron and Diana Watson, the couple who have eaten the exact same meal at the exact same restaurant six days a week for 15 years. They save their appetites to dine out exclusively at the Texas Roadhouse in Wichita, Kansas. The Washington Post explores the Watson's seemingly peculiar "comfort in sameness" and it got me thinking.

I would be fine eating the same thing every day like Ron and Diana. (I like to think we're on a first name basis.) I, too, find comfort in sameness. The thought of removing the question of what to eat is oddly soothing. I don't enjoy figuring out how to follow recipes or—let's be real here—what I'm going to order from Postmates. But apparently this is a polarizing viewpoint. Some people find the thought of eating the same thing every day to be downright horrifying.

But Ron and Diana describe their daily routine as thoroughly efficient. “By the time you start your car, go to the grocery store, go through all this hassle, go home, cook and do the dishes...you’re taking an hour or hour and a half, minimum,” says Ron. I relate to this on a spiritual and emotional level.

"Many people respond well to habits and structures but some people may rebel against them because to them variety represents freedom, and they eschew boredom," says Paulette Sherman, PhD, a psychologist and the author of The Book of Sacred Baths and the forthcoming Facebook Dating: From 1st Date to Soulmate. "Those people may feel it’s a sacrifice to give up a variety of foods."

For some people, there's good reason to maintain a daily routine. "There is a power in habits because they are the automatic building blocks of our choices which add up into routines," says Dr. Sherman. (This applies to all daily routines, not just food, she says.) "The benefits of eating similar things daily is if you make good choices you are less likely to be swayed by emotion or surrounding influences. Making choices and reinventing the wheel each day takes focus and energy. I remember reading Tolstoy ate the same breakfast daily, worked all day and often skipped lunch. A lot of writers have strict routines to aid productivity and to give their day structure."

Dr. Sherman adds that there are many mental health benefits to engaging in a daily routine, including greater success in relationships, lowering stress, improved sleep, and developing good habits that consciously align with your goals. Dr. Sherman's daily routine includes a sacred bath each morning, complete with meditation, visualization, and prayer. "It helps me to center," she says, "and feel a sense of well being and a clear intention as I start out my day."

Is there such a thing as the perfect morning routine? Here's what one editor found.

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