The Transformational Power of Routine

To be a master of your craft is a combination of having an innate calling combined with a superior skill set. Ask around and you will find that there’s no secret better kept than consistency and hard work. Sounds a bit like something you heard in your value ed class in fourth grade? Probably. Even then, the dictums passed on are imbued with wisdom, and applying them in your work and personal life will fetch results. We spoke to industry experts about finding structure at their own pace and how it impacted their lives.

Nimish Shah, Creative Director Bhaane, Shift

Nimish Shah, Creative Director Bhaane

What aspects of your life are routine-bound? Have they helped you grow?

Traits I am pleased about myself form a routine, everything else is evolving.

Waking up early, sleeping early, talking to my folks at a certain time of the day, having breakfast in the office, winding down my routine…I don't know if they have helped me grow, I don't think I went out of my way looking for it, it's a factory setting.

How do you build consistency?

My predictability is fairly rewarding for me - holding on to house aesthetic, in what I make, how I entertain, and how I respond. I don't like to provoke all the time–please at best. Clarity of thoughts helps along with patterns (including chaos).

Do you find routines constricting or liberating?

Routine helps me stay in my form —I haven't sought liberation yet. I’ll get to it at some point.

For now —routine.

Amrita Thakur, entrepreneur, and style curator

Amrita Thakur, entrepreneur, and style curator

What aspects of your life are routine-bound? Have they helped you grow?

For everything else, I show up, but I struggle to prioritise meetings with my therapist. Suddenly when shit has hit the roof I’ll scamper for an appointment. That’s probably because therapy is hard. It also makes me angry because we are going to therapy because we are trying to understand others’ reactions. And I feel slighted because why should I do all the work? But we do therapy for us so we can be a better version of ourselves. I try but I fall off the wagon, so therapy is a struggle. That’s why when everyone asks me how do you have it together–I say I don’t. It seems so because my work and industry are such that I have to put myself out there.

I am super committed to my workouts. If I have a shoot in the morning I’ll move my workout to the afternoon. I don’t feel good when I don’t go and mind you it’s not as if I am motivated every day. But you still show up the next day and that is important.

Everyone asks me what motivates me, and I’m like I am doing it for myself. I am my biggest motivation because it makes me feel aligned with myself. I don’t do it to look like someone else.

Do you find routines constricting or liberating?

The fact that you are absolutely militant about routines says something about your priorities. Now that I have found my way around it, it’s more limiting or constricting to other people. For me, it feels like waking up and breathing. For example, our family's Sunday lunches are a routine. I can’t get out of it even if I am dying! If someone wants to catch up during that time it’s a straight no. At this age, I have earned it. I don’t attend as many events. I weigh the event against my pole class or football class–what gives me more joy?

How do you build consistency?

It’s very simple but also the hardest–you just have to show up. You have to do it until it doesn’t feel like the hardest thing to do. You really have to ascertain what your goal is. You will get disappointed if you are trying to look like someone else. If you don’t have a bigger picture in mind then it is never going to feel good. You have to show up on the bad days, even if you feel 20% you have to turn up. Therapy is the same. I just have to keep going until I stop asking questions about why other people don’t turn up!

Kunal Rajput, professional fitness coach, and founder of Unlock, Breathe Studio

Kunal Rajput, professional fitness coach

When did you realise the transformational power of routine?

What changed my perception of routine was when I started seeing changes physically. Before that I was never the person who studied hard, it was the external validation and compliments I received is when I realised that if I continue to do this consistently people might see me from a different angle. That’s what made me realise the power of consistency and that seeped into other aspects of my life as well. It made me work hard, build quality in what I deliver has been a game changer.

Routine in general helps me in structure which in turn gives clarity.

As much as I feel like I have structure, I know people who have way more structure than that. I have macro structures not micro. Taking a break after a long stretch of working out and being consistent is also important. I know a lot of people who follow their calendar to the T and have a checklist every day they go through. I don’t do that. My level of structure has flexibility.

Are your goals more time-bound or result oriented?

Result-based. Everything we do is a long game. It's very easy to get into the fitness industry but to sustain you need to maintain quality. There are so many undulations on how the business works month on month that you need to build result-driven goals.

Do you find routines constricting or liberating?

I do feel it's restricting. A part of me likes having a structure in my life. Like any other human if you have been following something for a long time it does get to you. You are being controlled by it rather than the other way around. You want a little burst of freedom, to make decisions that are outside of it. However at this stage in my life, I do find that structure is helping me grow and stay sane, without it, I would be all over the place. But eventually, I would like a bit of a break to find who I am as a person and then get back to it again.

If at all you are not following a structure for external reasons you feel like you are doing something wrong and a lot of that mental energy goes in following that structure and subconsciously feeling a bit less because you can’t follow those things. I have been extremely dynamic in my decisions but in order to keep up with those radical choices I need structure. Ironically if I wasn’t that agile in my thinking I wouldn’t have reached here.