Routines can give our day shape, and they can give us the feeling of control. Routines are, without question, helpful on many levels. But I do have one question for you: do you own and define your routines, or do your routines own and define you?

While we may not like to admit it, many of us are attached to our routines and beliefs. We see our routines as concrete and we view our beliefs as truths, and while some of them may be that way, others may not. Oftentimes we have adopted our prescribed routines and beliefs without conscious thought and placed ourselves in a “safe” box, and that box then has ownership over what we say, think, and do.

When we stay within the comforting confines of the all too familiar box, we find that we draw nearly all of our resources, actions, and results from our routines, but routine isn’t always safe, productive, or healthy. Routine can often be a scripted performance of where we’ve already been and what we’ve already done. Many routines are conditioned into us without us fully realizing it. Some routines stem from childhood programming and others are adopted from the habitual patterns of behavior we have fallen into.

It’s often the routines we engage in without much thought that can act as a barrier to our success. By always staying in the box and by not questioning convention, we may risk standing in the way of, or at least delaying, our hopes and dreams.

Guess what happens when we step outside the box and dare to move in a new pattern?

When we step outside of the box and go with the flow, we grow in entirely new dimensions. We learn to rely more on spirit and we draw more from self-expression. When we branch out into uncharted territory, our map becomes intuition, our compass becomes our heart, and the road remains fluid, something subject to the freedom of flexibility rather than the fixed rigidity of predetermined routines.

If you’re not ready for a dramatic leap, you can always start small. One of the simplest yet most profound ways to move in a new pattern is to challenge the status quo. To take the words of Dr. Joe Dispenza, “We have to begin to do what’s unnatural—that is, to give in the midst of crisis, when everyone is feeling lack and poverty; to love when everyone is angry and judging others; to demonstrate courage and peace when everyone else is in fear; to show kindness when others are displaying hostility and aggression; to surrender to possibility when the rest of the world is aggressively pushing to be first, trying to control outcomes, and fiercely competing in an endless drive to get to the top; to knowingly smile in the face of adversity; and to cultivate the feeling of wholeness when we’re diagnosed as sick.”

I’m not saying that you need to ditch everything you’ve ever done, but if you take a close inventory of some of your behaviors, routines, and beliefs, you’ll likely find something small yet profound that needs to be changed. Sometimes the things that seem insignificant have the power to become the most impactful game changers, and sometimes the most subtle of messages are the strongest.