In pursuit of happiness, parents can find joy in daily routines
In pursuit of happiness, parents can find joy in daily routines. While changing up your day can add novelty, our happiness expert believes that there is pleasure to be had in the repetition of reading a daily newspaper or even sweeping the floor.
One of my Secrets of Adulthood – perhaps counter-intuitively – is “It’s often easier to do something every day than to do it some days.” I post to my blog six days a week. I take notes every day. I write in my one-sentence journal every day. Many people have told me that they find it easier to exercise when they exercise every day.
If I try to do something four days a week, I spend a lot of time arguing with myself about whether today is the day, or tomorrow, or the next day; did the week start on Sunday or Monday; etc. And that’s exhausting.
If I do something every day, I tend to fall into a routine, and routine has a bad reputation. It’s true that novelty and challenge bring happiness, and that people who break their routines, try new things, and go new places are happier, but I think that some routine activities also bring happiness. The pleasure of doing the same thing, in the same way, every day, shouldn’t be overlooked. By re-framing, you can find happiness in activities like doing dishes or sweeping the floor, as well as your beloved morning coffee-and-newspaper.
The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life.
Funnily enough, two geniuses whom I associate with the idea of the unconventional wrote about the power of doing something every day.
Andy Warhol wrote, “Either once only, or every day. If you do something once it’s exciting, and if you do it every day it’s exciting. But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it’s not good any more.”
Gertrude Stein made a related point: “Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.”
So if there’s something that you wish you did more regularly, try doing it every day; if you do something every day, revel in it.