Alarm goes off, get up, head to the kitchen, flick the kettle on, check your phone for likes, messages, emails, notifications and then 15 minutes later realise the kettle is cold so flick it back on again. Choose your drink of choice, maybe sit and browse the Daily Mail website or catch 5 minutes of the news. It’s now time to get the kids ready; teeth, clothes, lunch, homework and any other random piece of household equipment that they apparently need for the project of the day. Now time for you to get dressed. You are now nearly ready to start your day. You grab your breakfast and maybe prepare your lunch or mid-morning snack.
Drop off done, possibly stop off at your favourite coffee shop for a snack or second drink of the day and then to get the day done.
Before you know it the day has flown by and the hustle and bustle of your daily life has taken over. You have eaten and drank when you could, got home and done the evening shift and now it’s time to sit and switch off. Now off to bed, ready to go again in the morning.
This might not be your day. But whatever your routine is, it has a massive effect on how much you can implement change. If I said to this person above “That’s great, but now I want you to workout for an hour when you get home from work, prepare your lunch for the next day and eat a fresh breakfast”. I don’t think I would be helping them reach their goal very quickly, they may feel overwhelmed, become disillusioned at the process and just go along with no hope.
Routine can be a good thing. It can allow you to feel in control or alleviate stress from an existing situation as you know what to do, what is happening next and keep you moving forward. If the routine you are currently following (consciously or unconsciously) is achieving your goals then stick with it until it doesn’t.
They can also not be so great though. If your routine is causing you to keep making the same mistake, is causing you to be anxious about not sticking to it or facilitates a habit which you know you should be reducing or removing then you may need to take a closer look at what is actually going on.
We are creatures of habit, as the saying goes. And it may be true, as trying to over complicate your day for the sake of it is not going to help you achieve anything. We like structure and a plan but they have to be geared towards the outcome you are aiming for otherwise you will keep getting the same result.
Start by adding in one small change. Don’t just remove something from your routine, otherwise you end up filling that gap with something else that wasn’t planned for. If your regular breakfast is a large bowl of frosted flakes and you just remove them without replacing them with something else, then you start to feel hard done by, hungry and then possible make a worst choice later in the morning. Instead try to replace rather than remove. Replace your flakes with a small pot of skyr type yogurt, still quick and grab-able yet more beneficial. Instead of removing your tea break chocolate bar, replace it with an apple.
When should you change your routine?
If your routine at your break is to head on the same walking route to get some fresh air, but on the way you head past your favourite coffee shop and get your unicorn-cappa-frappe-hazelnut coffee and then head back to the office then you have a couple of choices; go the same way but choose a different drink (maybe an actual coffee and not a dessert) or walk a different route and grab a diet coke or water from a shop. You still get your break, you still get a drink but more than likely you have just reduced your calories by a few hundred.
If right up to before going to bed you are watching the latest box set on Netflix and then you have one more last minute check of your notifications on your phone and then wonder why you can’t switch off well or have a disturbed night sleep; then it is time to change. Do those things, but start them earlier. Have a clear “no screen period” before climbing into bed. I know a lot of things are on our devices but if you still read a real book, then do that instead. A dimmer, amber light is best and if you must a kindle/phone on night mode + flight mode is a good alternative.
We all have a routine to a degree and we can all change it to suit what we want to achieve. But you must be willing to change - feel a little resentful - feel uncomfortable - keep going - gain momentum - gain confidence in your choice - feel the satisfaction - see the results.
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