There were a lot of challenges that came with being a first-time parent. But for me, the most difficult adjustment was that there was absolutely no consistent rhythm or routine those first few months. It was the first season of my life that totally adjusted my expectations of rhythm.
You see up until that point, many of my rhythms were about doing things just for me. Even after getting married, I could still sleep as much as I wanted or go for a run whenever I felt like it. I was free to create a schedule and habits around things that gave me life.
But when my daughter was born, all of that changed. My sleep schedule was no longer my own. I couldn’t go for a run and leave my wife to watch her whenever I felt like it. Those first few months felt like we were living in three-hour sprints in between feedings.
As someone told me, a newborn is the grand annihilator of any kind of rhythm. And I was desperate to find a cadence that would be life-giving in this new season of life.
Defining Rhythm: What it is & What it’s not
When most people think about the rhythm of their life, they tend to look at their schedules, habits, or specific strategies for spending their time. But these things in-and-of themselves aren’t your rhythm. They are more like a means to an end.
The rhythm of life works in the same way as rhythm in music. In a song, the rhythm is the strong, regular, repeated pattern that holds everything together. If you miss a note, the song will sound bad for a moment. But if you miss the rhythm, the entire song is thrown off, and you’re missing every note.
In the same way, the rhythm of your life is the strong, regular beat of a few core things that you center your life around. It is the principles that influence your habits and schedule (whether that’s going on a long-run one time a month or shorter runs during the week). A schedule can come out of a rhythm, but rhythm cannot come out of a schedule.
4 Principles to Create a New Rhythm in This Season
So how do you go about resetting the rhythm of your life to experience a fuller, more meaningful life in this season? Here are a few lessons I learned from my experience:
- Consider the person you want to be in this season. You can’t create a meaningful rhythm unless you consider the kind of things you want to be about in this season. Whom do you want to become? When I stepped into parenting, I decided I wanted to be a good father. This helped me choose to say no to certain things. But it also helped me recognize that simple things like changing diapers or spending an hour carrying my daughter around the house were not wasted times.
- Remember the end of the song. At some point, every new parent wonders, “Is this ever going to end?” We can often feel the same way when we stop thinking about the end goal. Failing to remember the end of the song, is kind of like being asked to “just start running” and really knowing when we’re supposed to stop. It’s exhausting and aimless. We need to remember the end of the song — the important things we want to remember about our lives when we reach the end.
- Be intentional about protecting your rhythm. Whether it’s experiencing FOMO, constantly checking our phones, or feeling the pressure to always “be on” for work, everything in our world works to disrupt our rhythm. These are all things we must fight against when it comes to creating intentional rhythms in our life. What are some ways the world is competing to dismantle your rhythm?
- Don’t stress out when your rhythm gets off or you have to find a new one. You will never be perfect at maintaining a consistent rhythm for the rest of your life. There will be days when you need to reboot. Give yourself grace on those days. Also, remember that the rhythm that works for you now might not work three years from now. Things will constantly change throughout life. Don’t be afraid to find a new rhythm when the next season comes.
Is it Time to Reset the Rhythm of Your Life?
The end goal of resetting your schedule or habits is an achievement (more money, better health, more productivity). But the end goal of resetting your rhythm is rootedness and transformation.
If you’re looking to change things up in this season, be intentional about establishing a rhythm. What are three to four areas that you want to develop rhythms in your life? What are some ways you can work that into your current lifestyle? And more important, what can you do to help maintain those rhythms and your vibrancy alive?