When Routine Becomes Too Routine

Ask any member of my family and they will tell you that I am a big fan of routine.  I like knowing exactly what I should be doing at each moment in the day.  I like having tasks to do and then being able to check them off my list as I complete them.  Having a routine helps me to feel in control and it also keeps me on track.  It helps me accomplish my goals and gives purpose to my day.  Some people might find having a routine too boring and rigid and like to face the day with no plan in mind and let what may come, come.  That is totally fine, but I am not those people.  In my mind, routine is a good thing.  Until it isn’t.

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When you make a choice to be healthier, I would say that establishing some type of routine will be crucial to your success.  It’s good to have a plan set for what you are going to eat for the week, what workout you’re going to do for the day, and what goals you have in mind for your health.  In this sense, a routine will help keep you on track and moving towards what you want.  But we have to be careful to not become so addicted to our routine that it starts to hinder our health.

I began to notice that I was becoming so used to doing the same thing over and over again that my progress had actually stalled.  While I wasn’t losing ground, I definitely wasn’t gaining any either.  I also started to notice that any sort of change to my routine would throw me for a huge loop and cause me a lot of anxiety.  I wasn’t flexible to the little wrenches that might be thrown into my day and it stressed me out.  Stress and anxiety are the opposite of helpful when you are trying to be healthier.  I started to worry about straying from my ideal routine or plan and that was all I could focus on.  What would I do if this happened?  How could I avoid any possible challenge to my routine?  What can I do to make sure that I never have to stray from MY plan?  Those aren’t healthy or helpful questions.

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In case you hadn’t noticed, life doesn’t really care too much about your plan or your routine.  It is going to do whatever it wants and you can play along or fall by the wayside.  No matter how much I plan out my day or week, there are going to be things that have to change and I am going to have to adapt.  That is a good thing!  I realized I was missing out on so many fun things because they didn’t fit into what I thought I needed to be doing that day.  I can’t go to the movie at that time, that’s when I’m suppose to be doing yoga.  You want to eat that meal instead?  Sorry I already planned this one out three days ago.  I was trapped in a box that I had made myself and ironically it was causing me to stray from my healthy goals.

I will never be a person that can just fly by the seat of my pants.  I will always have to have some type of schedule or routine because that’s who I am.  But I am working on going with the flow more often.  I am learning to say yes to things that weren’t originally in my plan and letting go of the anxiety that creeps up when I can’t cross something off of my list when I think I should.  It’s ok to have some wiggle room in your life, in fact I would say that it’s necessary.  Say yes to an impromptu meal with a friend from out of town.  Surprise yourself and your significant other by doing something out of the blue.  Don’t worry about not getting in a full hour workout or eating the exact meal you prepped.  Adapt to the situation and make the healthiest choice possible at that time.  You’ll be a more well-rounded person and you’ll get to experience amazing opportunities along the way.  You don’t have to throw all caution to the wind and forgo routines or plans all together.  Instead of a rigid schedule you HAVE to stick to, set a general map for your day or week and make decisions as they pop up.  As long as those decisions are propelling you toward your ultimate goal, don’t stress about the ride!

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