Total Health

Routine, Routine, Routine!

You know that old adage in business and real estate: location, location, location! When we’re talking about health, the key to success is routine x’s 3! Keep reading to understand why routine is so important and a few super helpful tips to get you started.

Once a plan is put into action, results almost always take time to show up. This is especially true when it comes to our bodies as their main goal is homeostasis (basically stability). They are actually very stubborn in this regard, and often will fight us to hold on to what they know and find comfortable.

When we wish to build stronger and healthier bodies, we challenge ourselves by making healthier lifestyle choices (you know what these are: healthy food, regular exercise, good sleep and performing stress management techniques). Our bodies first need time to adjust to the changes and then to respond to the new ways we’re treating them.

Through consistency, we see results. How we maintain consistency is through routine, which becomes habit over time.

Ironically, once our bodies “get used” to our new daily and weekly routine, they stop responding and attempt to maintain homeostasis once again. If we want to continue to change, we need to further challenge our bodies by changing something up (like our workout routine).

Developing A New Routine

Tip #1: Working With What You’ve Already Got

When we’re motivated, we want to change everything all at once! We’re pumped up and see very clearly what changes we need to make to get us different results. But hold on! Unless the conditions are absolutely right (like a defining moment in our lives, usually a gift from the universe that forces us to change our routine, such as a divorce or job loss), it’s difficult for most of us humans to consciously change.

Like our bodies, we crave comfort and stability. So when we change up our current routine, it creates discomfort for a time. It’s challenging to move through this discomfort but it’s THE test we need to pass in order to see the results we want to see.

Most of us, especially in western society, we want what we want yesterday. So when we’re going through all this discomfort and fail to see the results right away, we experience frustration. This is what trips up so many people when they give up on their health goals.

Ultimately, we want to ease the level of discomfort to something tolerable until we’ve formed the new habit and it’s ingrained as part of our routine. We can work up to revamping our entire routine, but for now, ease your mind and body into it. Start with one or two changes (or replacing one or two unhealthy habits for healthier ones) in your current routine.

Maybe it’s eating breakfast rather than having that cigarette every morning or instead of 30 minutes of TV at night, opt for a walk. Or it can be as simple as getting a personal trainer to workout with you once a week!

Tip #2: Absolute Yes and No Lists

While we recommend working with what you’ve got and making small changes to your current routine (tip #1), it’s always good to have a goal to be working towards. This way you can plan which changes you’ll be making next once the previous ones take hold.

The Absolute Yes and No Lists exercise was developed by life coach and author, Cheryl Richardson to help us in creating our own guidelines for living a life full of happiness. I can also see how helpful it is in creating our own personalized healthy routines!

Absolute Yes List

Brainstorm all the things that make you a stronger, better person and that you absolutely cannot live without. Then pare the list down to 10 or 20 things.

Here are a few from my list:

  1. Eat simple, wholesome foods that agree with me.
  2. Walk at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Write in my journal every second day. Include thoughts and feelings about what’s going on in my life right now and what I’m grateful for. Aim for 3 pages.
  4. Do yoga, Pilates or core exercises 6 days a week, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
  5. Get a manicure every 2 weeks and pedicure once a month.
  6. Everything in moderation, including moderation. Meaning, I can go wild once a month!

This list will not only help you develop a brand-new, spankin’ healthy routine, you can always refer back to it when life gets overwhelming. Whenever you start feeling burnt out, you’ve probably prioritized other things in your life over your routine. In this case, take out your Absolute Yes List and incorporate as much as you can from it back into your routine.

Absolute No List

Now, jot down 10 to 12 things you know weaken or irritate you. These are the things that contribute to your stress, end up influencing you in a negative way and lead you away from your health goals.

Here’s half of my list:

  1. No all-nighters, either for work, travel or play.
  2. No TV or computers in the bedroom.
  3. No overdoing the booze (i.e. getting drunk).
  4. No letting things slide and not speaking up for what I want or need.
  5. No excuses for not letting my body move or get outside every day, unless I’m sick.
  6. No checking email first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Both of these lists can guide you in creating a healthy routine, and also remind you what your body, mind and soul need to maintain health when life gets in the way and your routine suffers.

Now that you have a vision and plan (tip #2) for a healthy routine that will get you the results you want, and know how to get there (tip#1), all you have to do is start! 

Do you have any tips in how to change up your routine and maintain it for the long-haul?

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