5 Simple Strategies for Creating Healthy Routines

Last week, this song popped out of my memory banks. Do you remember it?

So many life lessons from those days of Brady Brunch. 🙂

Just about when life gets going really smooth…something comes along and changes it up. Have you ever noticed that?

Last week, the unthinkable occurred at our house.

I canceled a workout class.

Might sound silly, but if you know me well, you know that just doesn’t happen.

Ever.

It’s not that I’m obsessed with working out. I workout three times/week for 45 minutes. That’s it.

But, I don’t make it optional. It’s part of my weekly schedule, just like any other meeting on my calendar. Because if I don’t go to class, I don’t exercise. (I know this about myself).

But, that’s not what this note is about. What it’s about is:

The Power of Routine

The reason TK and I and the family eat so healthy and live so healthy is that we have set up a structure in our lives that makes those things automatic.

We don’t rely on willpower to get it done. We rely on our schedule.

When the calendar says – workout, we workout. When it says – meet clients, we meet clients. When it says – drink a green smoothie, we drink a green smoothie.

There’s a lot to be said about relying on a schedule to support your healthy habits. Healthy choices are about establishing healthy routines. (Much like unhealthy ones are often due to unhealthy routines.)

That’s why TK and I spend so much time helping people create healthy routines. It makes things so much easier.

That said, as much as you can rely on routine, routines have to change from time to time. And, you gotta know how to deal with it when it happens.

Time to Change

We recently changed up our work schedule and it had a domino effect on our daily routine. (You may be feeling something similar right now with school starting up.)

The first few days went along okay, but I kept finding myself at the end of the day in a tizzy, rushing around, juggling bits of projects that were not finished.

Clearly there wasn’t enough time in the day to get it all done (not that there ever is, but you know what I mean).

Then, I would rush downstairs, try to throw dinner together and I could actually feel the adrenalin in my body as I hurriedly cooked, cleaned and prepared to scurry out the door to my next meeting or workout class.

It just wasn’t working. And, by Wednesday, I realized something had to change.

I could see by the clock that I had one hour to get dinner cooked, eat, and get to workout class.

I could do it, but it wasn’t going to be pretty.

So, rather than rush around and freak out, I decided something had to go. It was either dinner or workout. And, food comes first. So, I canceled my class.

Suddenly, I had an extra hour. I could take my time and enjoy it. And, I did. I cranked up some good music, took my time and savored the process of cooking.

Funny thing is, no one even made it home for dinner that night. Everyone got tied up. But, just having that hour to myself was better therapy than any workout class.

Sha na na na na na na na na!

Adjusting to new schedules is a challenge and it happens for a lot of us at this time of year. Kids are back to school. Summer vacations are over. Time gets more structured. And, whatever healthy routines you may have developed over the summer months, quickly fall apart.

But, you don’t have to let that derail you. In fact, here are some great strategies for tackling a changing schedule and coming out on top.

5 Simple Strategies for Creating Healthy Routines

 

1. Watch for Stress Signals

If you find yourself rushing around and irritable trying to ‘get things done’, take note. What is causing the stress? Do you just need more time? Where can you get it?

Is dinner time rushed and stressful? Don’t give up or resort to take out. If you used to eat dinner at 6pm and that feels too rushed now because of soccer or gymnastics, maybe it’s time to move dinner to 7pm.

Feel like you need some time to yourself? Maybe you need to get up 30 minutes earlier to allow yourself some quiet time before the day starts. Or maybe sneak away to bed a few minutes early for a little down time.

Wherever you see that stress flare up, it’s just a sign that something isn’t working. Something important to you has been compromised. Figure out what that is and you can recover it.

2. Be Forgiving

When schedules change, you’re bound to drop the ball somewhere. It’s okay. Forgive yourself. Move on.

Sure, I skipped a workout class, something I never do, but did I beat myself up about it? Did I give up? No, I took note of the extra time I needed and I made sure that the next time, I gave myself a bigger window of time so I wasn’t stuck in the same spot again.

3. Ask for Help

Hey, we love to think we can do it all ourselves, but in the midst of a schedule change, you might realize that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. That’s okay, too. (As long as you don’t choke!)

Have someone else plan your meals. Maybe you can hire the kids to run some errands for you or wash the car or do some of those tasks that have been left undone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you transition into a new routine.

4. Keep Going

The important thing is not to give up. Be flexible and adjust where needed, but don’t let the important things slide. If eating healthy and taking care of yourself is important to you, find a way to make it happen.

Plan your meals on the weekend, prep some of the food in advance, rally the family to help you.

When things fall apart, take note and think about what you can do to prevent that next time around.

Most importantly, don’t struggle trying to force something to happen that just doesn’t work. Instead, let go of the stress of it and come up with a new approach. Shift dinner time. Get up earlier. Go to bed earlier. Pack an extra snack. Make your smoothies the night before. The options are limitless!

5. Find a New Routine

Routine is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a healthy life, but not if the routine causes chronic stress. Watch for those times when you’re clinging too tightly to the routine and see what you can do to lighten your load without compromising your priorities.

How have you adjusted to a new routine without giving up a healthy habit? Would love to hear your comments below.

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