Routines Are Natural

I’ve always thought of the idea of ‘routines’ as a consequence of the modern world versus a quality that is innately human.

Conversely - I think that I have erroneously assumed that the natural state of humans ‘in the wild’ was more chaotic and random than it was. By quite a lot.

I was out on my Monday morning Ruck this past week and after the 30-45 minute mark my thoughts hit a sweet spot where they really started to flow. I was thinking about how when I spend time in the wild, I’m actually in a more consistent ‘routine’ than when I’m at home.

Let me explain.

I spent quite a few nights out in the wild this past September during archery hunting season. I was on an extremely rigid routine where I’d get up at 3:30am in the morning and stay up until 30 minutes past sunset. 

Every day - without question.

I would be in very specific locations at sunrise, sunset, and followed a regular routine throughout the day where I would move to different elevations on the mountain or to different geographical features based on the likelihood of finding animals.

The times I ate, where I camped, and my direction of travel was all predicated on a routine.

The question I have to ask myself now is: was I making the routine or was nature making it for me?

After some thought - I believe that across the millenia nature has provided the perfect routine for us humans to follow.

Sunrises and sunsets.
The 4 seasons.
The migration of animals.
The life cycle of plants.
The tides.
The weather.

Nature essentially laid out each day, month, and year for us with a routine that we were required to follow. This lack of choice had the benefit of minimal decision making. 

If you didn’t follow the routine - it was a literal do or die scenario.

Today - I think that we face an infinite problem of choice.

Because we are no longer required to follow the routine provided by nature - we are left to create our own.

And because when we have more options, we tend to be more likely to be dissatisfied with our choices - the ability to choose/create an optimal routine can be a challenge.

We also have to consider what we are optimizing for.

The routine that optimizes for financial gain will be different from the one that optimizes for family which will be different from the one that optimizes for health & fitness.

My estimation is that routines are very tightly integrated into human nature.

The potential disconnect may be the source of those routines and/or the accountability to the routine.

I’m not the best at being accountable to myself. In certain areas I excel - like my health and fitness - but other areas I’m not so strong. I suspect the same may be true for many others.

However, I would say that in general I tend to be very good at being accountable to other humans. I also suspect that this is true for most others.

This is why the vast majority of people find it so much easier to stick to a fitness program designed by someone else versus the one they come up with themselves.

I remember treating my college strength card - which had the entire strength program for the semester written out - like it was scripture…

And I followed it down to every last detail.

Being obligated to a routine is natural, but maybe, at least for certain aspects of our life, having someone (or something) else create our routine for us has some unique benefits.

After all, that’s what nature was doing for us long before Google Calendars and smartphones.

I’m not suggesting we completely abdicate the process of our lives to external forces. But I do think that finding an external source of accountability is very important. Especially - for our long term health and fitness.

For anyone that might feel lost - know that the League of Wildness is here to help if you need it.

Much love!

-Wildman Dan

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