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Adding Structure and Flexibility Into Goals, Routines, & Systems

structure and flexibility on a desk

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Structure and Flexibility In My Personal Life

There are a few different ways that I add structure and flexibility into my daily habits. The daily outline I made up for myself has ample downtime as well. Time for work, socializing, my relationships, and fun are all considered. It is not a “schedule.” This outline allows me to be more open to changes in my daily life.

I also use a certain vocabulary with myself to stay on track of progress. For example, I have an eating plan rather than a diet. I use a spending plan instead of a budget. The path to retirement is a journey, not a plan. My career is a path, rather than a ladder. My mindset is that of a student, always growing and learning. Practicing mindfulness meditation rather than trying to not think or stop thoughts, is how I meditate.

My Financial Systems – Minimalism & Values-Based Spending

As mentioned previously, I have a spending plan and not a budget. I also practice two systems to help me with my financial goals. The first system is minimalism. Things that I own are kept to an as-needed basis, to where I feel I have enough of something.

You will notice in my home I do not have a couch. Clothes are also something I do not have an overabundance of as well. Spending money on what I value is very important to me. Things I do not highly value are clothes and furniture. Food and debt repayment are two things I do highly value. Values-based spending allows me to pay off debt, save for retirement, and make progress toward my financial goals. These systems are how I paid my car off at the end of 2020.

Retirement for me is a Slow Fi path. Slow Fi is a term started by The Fioneers on how to start living the life you want in retirement while saving for retirement.

My Spiritual Systems – Meditation & Creative Time

Although I have an alarm set to meditate at a certain time every day, I also try to incorporate meditation as I focus on sleep. Focusing on breathing is also a way I cope during an anxiety attack.

My weekly outline contains time I have set aside for creativity. As someone who claims to not be artistic, I have found a few ways to express my creativity.

Structure and Flexibility From the Experts

Routines Need to Be Flexible to Be Sustainable

Paula Pant of Afford Anything

Paula Pant of Afford Anything posted the above quote on Facebook recently. She mentions that she talks about these ideas of making a routine flexible in her 31-day challenge.

James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits says:

“Step 1: Know exactly what you want. Have a big vision that is crystal clear.

Step 2: Know exactly what is true. See reality for what it is and accept the honest facts of the situation.

Step 3: Be flexible in the way you close the gap between 1 and 2.

Bold. Rational. Adaptable.”

James Clear

Why Be Flexible?

Flexibility allows us to feel like we can regain control. When things don’t go “according to plan” we can become stressed. As someone with anxiety, I am a natural planner. I need to account for details and be ready for an unexpected scenario. When I make phone calls I practice in my head, to feel more control.

Having structure and being flexible allows for me to feel open to change while feeling a sense of consistency. The balance helps me feel like I have a plan and know what’s going on but can adapt if needed. Therefore, I don’t often feel stuck in a rut or loop, but also don’t feel wildly out of control. I feel most in control when I feel balanced.

Take Action

Do you have routines, systems, and goals that are flexible, yet structured? Do you incorporate any of the things I do? Can you incorporate them if you don’t already?

If you haven’t also check out James Clear’s book Atomic Habits mentioned earlier. It comes highly recommended by the Financial Independence community. The FI community not only focuses on money habits but life habits that make retirement and financial independence even more enjoyable.

2 thoughts on “Adding Structure and Flexibility Into Goals, Routines, & Systems”

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