The Real Life Importance of Making Your Bed 

The Real Life Importance of Making Your Bed 
Routine, routine, routine, creates reinforcement, reinforcement, reinforcement! At this point, I’ll stop being this ridiculously redundant for the rest of this section and trust that you get the point, but seriously… This is why fad diets don’t work, gym participation tapers off in February, and relapses most often occur when people stop making their beds!

No, that last sentence was not a typo! Perhaps one of the best examples of the importance of routine came to me a few years back while touring an inpatient drug and alcohol facility in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Working as a substance abuse counselor, I made it a point to visit local rehabs where I can so I can see the facility and meet the staff for myself before making a recommendation to my clients.

As we’re walking down the main hallways of the living quarters, the clients have their rooms on either side of me, the tour guide mentioned something to me. To this day, I struggle to remember her name, but I’ll never forget our conversation.

She says to me quite casually, “Every day we require our residents to make their beds. Some of them resist at first but tend to embrace it over time.”

“That’s interesting,” I responded politely.

“What’s really interesting though,” she goes on, “is how this small act so strongly correlates with their sustained recoveries.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, here’s the thing,” she beings. “In addition to being your tour guide today, it’s also my job to follow up with clients after they complete the program. I’ve done this for a number of years, and in my eyes, there’s one question above all that’s the best predictor of their continued recoveries.”

“What’s that?” I asked inquisitively.

“Did you make your bed this morning.”

“Interesting,” I responded again, not fully seeing its relevance to their recovery efforts.

“You see,” she went on to explain, “I know, for the most part, that once they stop making their beds each morning, they’ve already or are soon likely to relapse. Making their beds is part of their routine here. It starts the day off on the right foot. Once people deviate from their structured sobriety schedule, it’s usually only a matter of time before they unfortunately get back into old routines and habits.”

To be truthful, I didn’t think much of this conversation at the time. Now, however, I more fully understand its implication and efficacy. In the long-term, it’s our routines that become our lifestyle and it’s our lifestyle that determines our long-term health and happiness.

Routine achieves the dream.

Goals don’t change people, routines do. 

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