How to Create a Routine in Minutes

I was actually discussing this with my friend a couple days ago. I can't seem to find my groove and how immensely guilty I feel about it.  She said, “We go through seasons” and that really got to me.

We go through seasons in everything we do in life; weather, friendships - come and go, and the way we take care of ourselves changes as well.

I told her how the last two months I’ve been going through the motions, albeit half-assed, and I feel that on top of the guilt of not picking myself back up quicker. My routine is choppy and discussing it with her, that’s what I realized is lacking in my life at the moment. I did not work my ass off (literally) to gain it back and then some. I will NOT be that person who loses the weight and balloons back. She told me I “haven't gone back though… You never will cause that girl is gone.” She’s right.

“One step back doesn't mean ALL is lost. One size doesn't make you the size you were”

There will be ups and downs, and I know that I started this thing with the attitude that I won’t weenie out (and I never will) but there are moments where you’re going to feel shitty. It's not going to always be a consistent thing. If you're feeling down like I have, you need to remind yourself that you are human and this journey is going to have occasional ups and occasional downs. You'll succeed, but you'll also fail, more times than I would like to admit, and you'll feel guilty. The thing about it is not to allow it to keep you from making your next step, though, or else there will never be a victory.

INVEST in yourself

Anything worth having comes with the work that you put into it. Just like relationships, just like your career – you have to give effort in order to receive benefits of it. It’s the same thing with your body and health. We’re all allowed to trip and stumble every once in a while. You wouldn’t be so hard on yourself because you tripped over something in the house – you’d laugh and keep walking. This doesn't mean you blew your goal.

So that brings the question – WHAT IS MY GOAL?

Mine lately is to get back into routine, as I’ve clearly had my head everywhere, running around aimlessly.  That’s why I needed to write this post. Here’s how I get myself back on track:

Step 1: Brainstorm

Get your pen and paper out, Piggie Posse! MAKE A LIST. Make a couple of lists! Things you want to accomplish, the BIG goal and then itty bitty goals you can achieve to mark your progress.

I know this seems counter intuitive since you want to get up and go... and since we’re all so glued to our phones now - but I never feel more accomplished than by physically writing all my thoughts down in my little notebook, and then re-organizing them in a particular order. I blurt out all of my thoughts, wants and miniature goals for what I want to accomplish, and how to make it happen. The tools you need to succeed will stem from this step, I promise.

Step 2: Create a timeline

Do you want to start with cardio in the morning, or what will your gym schedule look like? Will you work out at 6 in the morning before work? Can you get up that early? Is that early enough? Are you more of a night/after work gym rat?

Throw around a few ideas that are comfortable for you. I started out with a night schedule, at first. I was working in Carpenteria at the time, and the commute was a good 30 minutes each way from home. I would change in the car before my training sessions. After I changed jobs, I found that morning routines fit better with my schedule. Personally, I have more get up and go for the rest of the day if I run or lift before my mind and body knows exactly what's happening.

Step 3: Test It

See how it feels to you. Try the routine for about a week - if it's not working or you're having a hard time sticking to your plan, remember that there will always have to crack eggs to make your omelette. If it still doesn't feel right, change it up a little. 

I read an article last week that debunks the myth that "it takes 21 days to form a habit". Habits form in a minimum of 21 days, but the complexity of the habit is what determines how long it takes a particular individual to assimilate this behavior into their natural autonomy.

  • In 2006, Verplanken (6) gave students one of two writing tasks. The first group simply had to underline ‘She/she’ every time they came across it in a piece of text. The other group had the more complex task to underline all words referencing a movable object or mammal. What they found was that the simple task became more autonomous by the end of the study, indicating that they’re quicker/easier to become habitual.
  • A little more recently, Lally et al., (2) recruited students to choose a health related behavior they wanted to develop into a habit. The students chose behaviors like doing 50 sit ups with their morning coffee, eating a piece of fruit with lunch, and drinking a glass of water with their lunch. What they found was that developing an exercise habit took one and a half times longer than an eating or drinking habit, which they suggested was because the eating/drinking behaviors were much simpler than the exercise ones.

Step 4: Make that Routine your B!@#$

Just Keep Swimming! Just Keep Running! Just Keep Lifting... and eating veggies, and being the awesome mindful powerhouse you are! You will get there.

Don't get hung up on a time frame, just like I told you not to get hung up on the number on your scale. You're doing a GREAT job simply by being mindful and trying and making this effort. You're already lapping everyone else who is only complaining about their situation and NOT doing anything.