Adventure and routine? Seems an unlikely combination.

Adventure doesn't come easy. It can't be bought or prepackaged and delivered. Adventure demands full engagement and all the trials and tribulations that come with it; there is a cost. For those willing to fully engage, the cost of admission is worth every dollar, the sweat equity, and the mental and emotional challenge.

The key to reaching your High Endeavor goals is sustainability. How do you sustain the vision and keep your eye on the prize when you are tested and 'tolerance for adversity' feels like a platitude? The answer is simple, yet the application of this simple answer is a lifetime of work: routines.

((High Endeavor? Adventure in Everything? - If you are new to these ideas start here.))

Routines and adventure are not on opposite ends of the spectrum. Routine is one piece of the balanced High Endeavor formula:

Routine + Vision + Grit = High Endeavor

Matt Walker
Source: Matt Walker

What's the difference between a routine and a habit? Personal perspective really. Habits have a tendency to have a negative connotation (ie. biting my nails is a bad habit) while routines can imply a positive and intentional action. So, I'll go with routine to imply intention and a positive perspective.

Routines, a choiceful action, connect you directly with your High Endeavor goals. As a result of consistently employing routines you create an opportunity to recieve positive feedback personally while positively taking steps closer toward your High Endeavor. A win-win.

One routine that has significantly shifted my worldview and made a dramatic difference in my life is 'morning pages' and / or journaling. If you have read my book, Adventure in Everything , you'll already know that I advocate for routine / daily journaling as a learning and implementation tool. I first came across 'morning pages' via Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and after a few days of doing them I began to notice a shift and there was no looking back.

We are human after all.

I definitely notice when I slip and journal less frequently. Travel, kids, demands coming from multiple directions; it can make routines difficult to maintain. We are human after all.

And the result of not following my 'high endeavor' routines? A lack of focus, easily distracted by the new and shiny around me, increase in sugar, caffeine, alcohol..., essentailly a shift toward external expereinces to improve my internal experience.

Your routines are your actions.

It makes sense. Neglect the daily activities that support full engagement and things go downhill. Your high endeavor's in life come to life when your personal values are connected directly to action. Your routines are your action.

Small steps, big rewards.

Small steps, big rewards. The body of research and anectdotal evidence regarding routine (habit) development is enormous. Enormous. But the most significant and consistent takeway from all of the research is this: start small, be tenacious, forgive transgression, and be tenacious. Add some more tenacity and time for sustainability and you can begin increasing additional routines that support your ultimate high endeavors.

Along with the plethora of routine / habit research are a seemingly unlimited number of tools to support you. It's easy to be lured to the technical, shiny, and complex solution: simple is key here. It's easy to be lured into going big and attempt to make sweeping changes: small steps, big rewards.

Expert resources that offer solutions that are inspiring and support full engagement:

  • Zen Habits: Handbook For Life
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • Four Seconds
  • The Artist's Way

Apps that, used sparingly, do the trick. Careful here, apps tend to push you to add too many new routines at one time, practice restraint and remember small steps / big rewards.

  • Full
  • Balanced
  • Way of Life

What routine can you implement today to get you closer to your high endeavors?


Matt Walker is a psychologist and world-class mountain climber. He's the author of Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity (Hay House). 

He's been working with individuals and groups since 2001 leading them on adventures to support them with necessary shifts so they align with their full potential.  He works with all kinds of people from parents who blog to executives at Fortune 500 companies including Marriott, Amazon, Nike and Microsoft. You can learn more about him and the Five Elements of Adventure at is external).

About the Author

Matt Walker M.A.
Matt Walker, M.S. is a psychologist, world-class mountain climber, and the author of Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity.

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