Routine.....friend or foe?

Wanna know one thing that could be key to success in this whole living-your-best-healthy-life?

ROUTINE.

Yep, something that seems so bland, boring, repetitious and well, routine, can be key to you keeping those resolutions we all make in trying to better ourselves.  Whether it’s to eat more veggies, cutting out soda or to up your work out game, creating a routine around the actions you want to implement is muy importante (that’s Spanish for “very important”.  I speak Spanglish, a little French but am fluent in sarcasm). 

I’m all for spontaneous, fun-for-all good times so don’t think I am a total buzz kill.  What I am meaning about routine is that when you make a commitment to change something for the better in your life, creating a habit and routine ensures that it becomes a part of your life without thinking about it. 

I think mornings can be one of the most powerful times to have a routine in place.  What is your morning routine like?  Peace and zen?  Or more hitting snooze and stress and rush and yelling at kids to get their teeth brushed and don’t-you-dare-miss-the-bus-because-I’m-not-taking-you-to-school?  I’ve never said that, fyi.  Do you ever wish you could start your day off a little more zen-like?  Guess what, you can.  It takes a little planning and probably setting your alarm earlier.  Really think about how you want to feel when the day starts and what it would take for you to feel that way.  Is it having 30 minutes of quiet before the rest of the house awakens to sit with a warm mug of coffee, catch up on news, journal or pray?  Or is it getting a work out in so you don’t have to try to fit it in later in the day?  It might just be taking a minute to check in with yourself to see what you are truly feeling and what you really need to feel supported that day. 

I know that if I don’t get up before everyone else in my house (husband and 2 boys, 13 and 11), I feel like I am running late for the rest of the day.  I only speak when spoken to in the morning so having 30 minutes just to myself is mandatory by this point in my life.  I look forward to it (and my mug of matcha) when I am getting ready for bed.  It just sets me up for a mentally great day.  This routine hasn’t always existed for me but I have discovered that it is something that I truly NEED now.

Let’s say you want to make a commitment to cutting out soda and drink more water.  You will want to create a routine involving drinking water so that your actions, while new and uncomfortable at first, become second nature over time.  You can start by filling your water glass at night before you go to bed so that you can chug it down first thing in the morning before your coffee (that’s a personal task done by moi).  Then, throughout the day, part of your routine can be that you set parameters around how much and how often you drink water.  Maybe you have a 32 oz water jug with you at work and your goal is to re-fill it when you leave home, at lunch and at 3pm every day.  You might even set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink up.  Over time, you won’t need an alarm as your routine has taken over and become second nature.

What about food? Do you know anyone who eats the same thing every day for breakfast or lunch?  You can definitely create routine around your meals but that might end up getting a little boring, right?  However, when wanting to make a shift in your eating towards more healthy options, it can be a really powerful tool in your success.  By planning your meals a few days at a time and getting in a routine, you can cut out the surprises and have the strength to turn down the last-minute lunch out knowing you have a great meal ready to eat.  Try this routine- on Sundays, look ahead at your week, planning out your meals.  Prep and make breakfasts and lunches for the next few days.  Change it up from week to week so that you can keep boredom at bay.  A great breakfast to prep?  My Overnight Maple Cinnamon Chia Oats.  You could also grill some chicken, roast some veggies (or make extra at dinner during the week) so that you can package them in containers you can grab and go in the morning.  This meal prep might take about an hour on the weekend and save you much time, frustration and a few greasy meals during the week.

Sometimes routines can be not-so-great.  You feel me?  I will confess I have a routine of needing something sweet after dinner every night, which honestly can lead me down a rabbit hole of nighttime snacking.  What I need to do is create a new routine of brushing my teeth or going for a walk right after dinner because I know that stops my craving. 

What routines do you have that aren’t serving you?  Be honest with yourself.  We all have routines that are less than stellar and do more harm than good for ourselves.  It can be hard to fess up to them when they have become so engrained into our lives.  What would it take to make a change?  Think how awesome you will feel when you can replace a habit with one that supports how you want to feel.

Need more ideas?  Contact me.  I would love to help you achieve your goals.

Be well, my sweet friends!