Some people are planners who map the day out to the minute, while others prefer to just wing it. Whichever way you like to do it, there are some strong arguments for how a routine can help you to achieve your healthy living goals. No matter what they are.
1. Routines help to turn healthy chores into automatic habits.
Many healthy activities aren’t necessarily as fun or easy as their unhealthy alternatives, so making time for them can be tricky. By making a healthy action part of your routine, you force yourself to repeat it often, helping to turn it into an automatic habit.
For example, if you take the stairs to your desk each morning when you arrive at work, stairs will become your automatic go-to choice. Just like that, you’ll get a good couple of extra steps in the day without even thinking about it!
2. Setting up a routine gives you an actionable starting point.
It’s difficult to know where to begin when you’re starting your healthy living journey. We’re bombarded with tips and advice – “do this”, “don’t do that” – how can you possibly fit it all into your already jam-packed day?
Start by selecting just a few healthy actions that fit with your goal (see our tips below for ideas). Incorporate one or two of these into your routine to start. Soon, through repetition, these will become habits, and then you can start adding more to the collection.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed and fall off the wagon – use your routine to let you know what’s coming and help you prepare for it.
3. Routines help us manage our time, so we don’t forget the essentials.
When we’re busy and flustered, or doing things on the fly, we often deprioritize activities that we think are non-essential. For example, if we’re stressed at work, or busy at home, skipping meals or a few hours of sleep might become an everyday event – to the detriment of your health. A routine helps you organize your day and make time for activities that are important for your health, e.g. having a set mealtime ensures you don’t forget to eat and end up binging later.
4. Being prepared helps you to avoid last-minute unhealthy choices.
If you’ve got an easy meal ready to heat up at home, there’s no need to grab a take-away for supper. If you know you have a delicious packed lunch waiting in your lunch bag, it’s easier to pass on other food temptations along the way. Being prepared also helps remove the stress of on-the-go decision making like, “what’s for dinner?”.
5. Routines help you keep track of where you’re going … and how far you’ve come.
Whether it’s a weigh-in on a Monday or charting your exercise on the calendar, keeping track of your goal is an essential part of your routine. Tracking your progress helps you to measure how far you’ve come and gives you an understanding of what steps you still need to take to reach your goal.
The good news is, starting a healthy routine is something you can do right now! Here are 5 healthy habits you can add to your routine starting today:
1. Make a routine of drinking water.
Have a 500ml bottle of water when you wake up, one when you arrive at work, one at lunch and one before you leave work – that’s your daily 2 litres done!
2. Make a tracker.
Chart your weekly weigh-ins, give yourself a gold star on the calendar on your exercise days, or make a checklist on your water bottle so you can tick with chalk each time a bottle is finished.
3. Choose the stairs, ALWAYS!
It will become your automatic choice and you’ll never have to queue for the lift again.
4. Make You-time.
Set aside 10 minutes, just 10 minutes each day to do whatever makes you feel rejuvenated. Sit quietly and reflect on the day, read, or have a cup of tea. Make a choice to focus on your wellbeing.
5. Move around in the day.
For example, if you work at a desk, make sure you get up and walk around at least once every hour.
As much as routine is good, also remember to take some time for the spontaneous and trying new things. Don’t plan too far that it becomes boring, it’s all about finding the balance that empowers you to achieve your goals. Tricks for Treats.