This month has been a great practice in routine and repetition for me, and a great reminder of the magic in that process.
I’ve claimed my can’t nots and committed to similar diet, exercise plan and work habits each day.
Other things have happened too. I joined friends for writing dates and lunches, my parents came to visit and I planned a trip for March, but the core of each day has been very similar to the one that came before.
Routine hasn’t become boring for me because my day isn’t consumed with routine. I don’t plan out the whole day and have each hour booked with activity. Instead I infuse my day with small pockets of routine including an hour in the morning and small chunks of time throughout the day.
- Wake up, brush teeth, drink water.
- Go to the empty gym in my apartment building and meditate for 7 minutes (last week it was 6 minutes, and 5 minutes the week before that)
- Spend 30 minutes raising my heart rate and wrap up the workout by holding plank for 60-70 seconds (last week it was 50-60 seconds)
- Eat an apple with almond butter and a bowl of steamed spinach for breakfast.
- Write and work
- Yoga and/or walk.
- Eat some combination of raw carrots, apples, oranges, steamed broccoli, roasted veggie pizza on a whole wheat pita, big salad, avocado, walnuts, hemp seeds and oil free dressing for lunch and dinner.
- Write and work.
- Yoga and/or walk.
These aren’t they only things that happen each day and they don’t always happen in that order, but they are the bones or core of my weekdays. Some days are different, but typically my routine is in place, and through repetition it’s becoming habit and I am more proficient and engaged in each activity. Breaking the routine on a weekend day makes me even more committed to the routine.
How to create your own routine
Start small. Choose one time of day and give yourself 5 minutes to engage in an activity you enjoy. Each week, add one minute.
Use an app. I use Insight timer for mediation and C25K for running and sometimes track steps with Moves. If I’m feeling scattered or want to work on several different things during the day, I use Simple Pomodoro Timer.
Be flexible. Your routine will become an important part of your day, but be flexible. If you get started 20 minutes late, or have to skip a day, drop the drama and just get back to it.
Make it personal. Your routine or routines are for you. Create them to serve you, so you can better serve your family, health, work, and art.
Keep it simple. My diet is almost the same every day. If you want to lose weight, or change your eating habits, one of the most powerful things you can do is eat the same meals each day for a few weeks or longer.
Make it count. Your routine isn’t about going through the motions. Make your routine meaningful. I wrote How to Create a Meaningful Morning Routine to help. I’ve been experimenting with creating routine for years and continue to be amazed with the results.
Over the last 30 days, I’ve lost 12 pounds, noticed an increase in energy and strength and am sleeping really well, but that’s not the magic.
The magical part is that from routine and repetition, I’ve become more confident and focused. I’ve seen how daily dedication can result in body and mind transformation. With that comes great momentum and motivation to continue. While it doesn’t seem like it on day one, 30 days is a short amount of time for a new routine or habit. Lasting change is infused with purpose and is not a short term investment.
What’s in your daily routine?