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The Beauty of Routine

Being a young adult can seem so exciting in the first few years. Suddenly you’re free from parents, removed from the rigid restraints of school, and ready to leave your past, well, in the past. Yet when faced with a wide-open future, being free can start to feel a little iffy. 

I’m a routine- and goal-oriented person to the extreme, so stepping outside my comfort zone and beginning college was a difficult time for me. The first few years were rough; I switched schools and cried more than I care to admit. Then I realized that life couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be that way. I had to grow up and deal with it. 

Goals, routines, and priorities are important, but the world doesn’t usually just hand them to you—they’re something you constantly have to work hard to set. That’s a lesson a lot of people—including myself—learn the hard way. I wish someone had told me that the freedom of making choices also comes with the responsibility of making choices, and that actually doing so takes a lot of preparation and hard work. 

You probably think that sounds easy enough, but try setting a goal or following a routine when no one holds you to it and you have a million other things to worry about. Trust me, it’s hard. I’m not saying that to sound scary, though—I’m saying that because it’s important to do it anyway.

So instead of being a “new you” this year, just try to be “you with a goal.” Worried about your career path? Feeling lost about life in general? Set a goal and create a routine. My senior year of college, I set a goal to get a job in New York City by the end of summer (dream big, people!). Every morning of my spring semester, I got up at 6 a.m., worked on my résumé, researched potential jobs, and emailed people I admired until it was time for class. I set a goal, created a routine, and (spoiler alert) got what I wanted. And every day of that semester, I felt driven and fulfilled. 

All photos via @annavcoke

Simply floating through life is not enough for me. If it is for you, that’s awesome! But if it’s not, you have to be proactive. Your goals don’t have to be big, but they have to be present and constant in your life. It’s never easy, but I promise it always pays off.