Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU
(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)
As we step into September I feel a sense of joy with the return of my usual daily routine hanging out just around the corner. The summer was filled with adventures, social gatherings, vacations and outdoor fun. My daughter and her boyfriend were home from university, working in town and living with us for the last couple months. My son was busy with work and summer travel football and visits to potential university football programs. The work schedule at my business is steady but very different in the summer. However lovely and wonderful all of this has been, quite frankly after a fast-paced and exciting summer, I am craving a large dose of healthy routine.
While comfort zones, consistency and routine may seem a little less adventurous and even boring, there is strong pull towards the contentment in routine that we covet. The transition of August to September leaves me reminiscent of end of year. (You know, as January approaches after the hustle and bustle of the holiday seasons of December, where we eat and drink in a way not “normal” to us and we socialize more frequently.) A time, when we often examine what is working in our lives and what is not. Resolutions made for the new and upcoming and our diet, our exercise regime and our dreams and ambitions are examined and goals are set.
The importance of routine is often undermined and dismissed, but should it be?
Studies have shown that successful people are sticklers for routine. Whether it’s eating the same protein and vegetables for lunch, walking the same route each evening or following the same formula for their accomplishments, successful people have consistency.
I believe going with the flow is necessary and mixing things up are intriguing, provocative and inspiring but also conclude through my own experience, that routine is essential.
These suggestions can apply to any area of your life:
Routine provides a sense of structure and familiarity. Structure allows you to organize your life in a way that makes sense to you. You wake up with a sense of ownership, order, and organization of your life. Make a plan!
A healthy routine becomes a habit. (For that matter unhealthy routines become habits too, so make sure your structure is healthy). The more habitual your plan is, the more it becomes second nature by enabling you to do things without consciously thinking about it. You will automatically act and implement without having to remind yourself to engage your plan, leaving room for fresh, new inspirations.
Conscious Good Habits
We are creatures of habits so being actively consciously about building a daily routine for ourselves is important. When we consciously decide what we want to do with aspects in our lives, we become more aware of what makes us happy. The more we examine what makes us happy, the more good habits we create. What is one "thing" (person, activity, hobby, attitude, action and so on) that you want to nurture more or spend more time with because it will make your life happier?
Routinely doing something on an ongoing basis, even if it is just a little bit, builds big momentum and expansion. There is a quote that goes “little by little, a little becomes a lot” and I find that to be true for almost everything in life. Want to eat healthy? Start with one meal a day and make it a healthy routine. Want to save money? Putting a small amount away on a weekly basis, adds up to good amount by the end of the year. Want to exercise more? A daily routine of walking one mile a day and expanding from there once it becomes a conscious good habit. Although the benefits of doing something ongoing seem small, the payoff is huge after a while.
Time is precious
I strongly agree with the benefits of “routine parenting” with kids when they are small. Setting parameters, boundaries and routine might be an effort to start but in the long run it saves ongoing work and on a bigger scale. As adults if we don’t procrastinate and put in the time to build a routine then it saves us time and energy in the end. Think about your laundry. You can routinely do a load a day or you can have the headache of spending an entire day catching up because you are out of clothes.
Time can also assist with long run pay off. Walking outdoors for three miles a day for a week will burn about 3,500 calories which roughly equates to one pound loss in weight. Three miles a day after 10 weeks is about 10 pounds. (Not to mention the healthy benefits of cardiovascular and pulmonary health and the connection with nature!)
Whether it’s your food plan, home or business having a routine helps the wheels go around. If we know what is expected and what the plan is then we can be accountable to that plan. When a routine is planned with healthy conscious choices, our accountability and subsequent probability of success is heightened.
Routines, rituals and habits when properly harnessed can help us to keep our lives on track.
I have been consciously contemplating and examining where I am in this moment and what needs to shift – what is working and what is not – as I re-build a routine for myself that is conscious, healthy and happy.
I welcome September (my new January) to use this transition as an opportunity to take inventory of my life and to build and plan. Are you ready for routine?
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