Day. 20 Routines


Why Creating Routines Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Let’s face it - life is hectic. We’re faced with dozens, and sometimes even hundreds, of small decisions every day. What do we eat? When do we exercise? What time do we leave to make sure the kids get to school on time? As these decisions pile up, they start to feel overwhelming.

Have you ever felt so busy or overwhelmed that important things like exercise, eating right, and sleep fall by the wayside? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, busyness and chaos can have a negative impact on our health, weight, and wellness.

But there is a solution! Creating routines - actions that you follow every day - can ensure that the things that are most important to you get done. Great routines can also take some of the stress out of planning out your days, leaving your mind free to deal with more important issues. Here’s how you can make the most of them.

Why Routines Matter

We all have things we like doing, and things we don’t. We also have tasks that demand to be done in the moment (such as taking the kids to school or dealing with a plumbing issue) and tasks that feel easy to put off (such as exercising or going to bed on time). With so much that needs to get done every day, it’s easy to sink time and energy into deciding what to do next. Creating routines frees you from that cycle.

One of the greatest benefits of routines is that they allow you to make decisions in advance. If you’ve created a routine of visiting the gym before you go to work, you’ve already decided to do so. All you have to do is follow through. The same goes for choosing what you eat or when you go to bed. If your routine involves making a healthy dinner and going to sleep at a good time, you’re much more likely to follow through. The decision has already been made.

Another great aspect of routines is that over time they become automatic, and thus save you time. Let’s say you often miss out on exercise because the morning rush leaves you distracted and overwhelmed. You decide to create a routine that involves setting your clothes out and packing your gym bag the night before, getting up 15 minutes earlier, and replacing your
time-consuming breakfast with a Complete shake.

At first you’ll need to remind yourself to do all these things, but over time they’ll become auto- matic. With a few weeks of repetition, your routine will be second nature, and you’ll create an environment that makes moving towards your goals feel natural.

Make it Happen

Creating routines can change your weight, your body, and your life. Are you ready to see the difference routines can make?

The Challenge: Identify three areas in your life that would benefit from routines (such as when you eat, what you eat, when you sleep, when you exercise, or when you take time out for yourself to manage stress). Create routines to make sure these areas remain a priority.

Your routines won’t be immediately automatic. You’ll have to remind yourself to stick with them at first. But over time they will feel more and more natural. Eventually you won’t have to think about them at all, and you’ll be able to make healthy decisions without a second thought.

Your Next Steps

1. Creating an Eating Routine: Create a routine around when and what you eat to make sure you stay on plan. Look back over your lesson on the 4-4-12 method to refresh yourself on the best times during the day to eat. Decide when you want to schedule your three meals (for example, 8am, 12:30pm, and 6pm). Make eating at those times a priority. By committing to this schedule and deciding to eat three meals a day, you may find it easier to resist the tempta- tion to snack.

2. Creating an Exercise Routine: Make exercise a priority by creating a routine around it. When do you like to exercise? In the morning, after work, on your lunch break, or some other time? Block out that time in your day. Can’t set aside a large chunk of time to exercise? Break it into two or three smaller segments. Then, make the changes you need to stick to your routine. After a few weeks of consistently sticking to the schedule you’ve set out, it will become more and more of a habit.

3. Creating a Sleep Routine: Are you getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night? If you’re not, it’s time to reevaluate your sleep routine. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

• It’s important to go to bed and get up at about the same time every day. This helps set your body’s internal clock and can help you sleep better. You can’t “catch up” on sleep, so stick to your schedule even if you didn’t get enough zzz’s the night before.

• If you’re currently in the habit of going to bed later than you need to, don’t make the jump to your new bedtime all at once. Go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your goal.

• Caffeine is a stimulant and can take hours to leave your system. Avoid anything with caffeine within six hours of your bedtime.

• A quiet, cool, and dark bedroom makes it easier to fall asleep. Make whatever changes you need to in order to create a great sleeping environment.

• Create a bedtime ritual to help yourself settle down. Read for a half hour, take a warm bath, drink a cup of herbal tea, or enjoy another relaxing activity to wind down.

4. Creating other Routines: You can create routines around nearly any habit you want to prioritize. First, decide what you want to accomplish (such as “keep on top of my laundry so it doesn’t get overwhelming”). Next, choose a time and frequency at which you’ll carry out that activity (“I’ll wash, dry, and fold a load every day between dinner and bed”). Identify anything that could get in the way of carrying out that commitment and find ways around them (“I’ll get the laundry in the washer before I help my kids with their homework so I don’t get distracted”). Keep track of your progress to identify and correct common roadblocks.

Think Long Term

Use these tips to stick with your new routines.

• Account for life changes. If something changes in your schedule, think about how it may impact your routines. Find solutions early to keep your routines from falling apart.

• Accept when things aren’t working. Sometimes a routine will sound great in theory, but just doesn’t work out in practice. If you’re struggling with a routine after trying it for a month or two, rethink your approach. Try different strategies until you find what works.

• Once you set them, make them a priority and don’t allow yourself to schedule things that interfere with your routines.

• Forgive yourself for mistakes. You can be completely dedicated to a routine and still slip up from time to time. Mistakes don’t mean the routine is bad or that you’re incapable of following through. Pick yourself up and get back to it.

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