Having had a recent break from regular routine, it only confirms to me the importance of it, in the formation of good habits. For me having a good routine is very helpful in forming good habits. Sticking to regular workout times for example helps it to become part of your daily/ weekly rhythm to the point you can become naturally motivated to do your workout without having to think about it. This can apply to any healthy habit we wish to form – meditation, healthy diet etc.
With any healthy habit I have formed such as regular meditation , exercise and healthy eating this has always been the case. There are also other benefits to some of these routines such as an increase in metabolism when eating at regular intervals.
I have come to a point now where I even consider it to be essential , through experience of how well this works I find myself being far more effective and motivated when I have formed these good routines which then become habits. This is something I also recommend to anyone who lacks motivation to exercise. If you can stick to the same time and days each week for long enough then it will become habit, you will then without doubt be motivated to do it. It will become part of your physiology, you will feel like you need to do it, just like how you naturally feel the need to brush your teeth and wash everyday.
This is also how many of us form bad habits where they have become a fixed part of our routine, such as when we come in at night and may veg in front of the T.V, or get drunk on a saturday night. It could even be said that such routines have become habits of the nation, even to the point where those who spend their evenings at the gym or choose not to drink or get drunk are seen as ‘fitness freaks’ or somewhat abnormal.
The saying that ‘we are creatures of habit’ is a very true one and we will naturally form habits throughout our lives. But ultimately we are in control of our habits as long as we choose to be, we just have to make the choice. Decide what to do and who you want to be.
Forming a good routine is one very powerful way to form good habits as it puts you back in the driving seat of your life. Habits are not mindlessly formed, at one point we have to learn them and it is then formed through repetition.
We can therefore, at any time choose to learn and develop new ones. If forming new healthy habits is something you want to do then it is very helpful to begin by adding it in to your routine. Start by writing in your diary the times and days that you will workout in each week, the same for your healthy meals and any other new healthy habits. Then be strict with yourself and stick to it, no matter what, no excuses, and within a month you will have formed yourself a very good habit that if you keep it will serve you well for life.
This can also help with quitting bad habits, use the new routine to form a good habit that will replace the bad habit. Taking your focus off the bad habit and onto something new in a new routine will actually make it much easier than just trying to quit the bad habit, because your focus will be on something new that will drive you to quit your bad habit when your new routine becomes more important.
This is not to say that spontaneity doesnt have its place, of course it does, so allow for this also and dont be too hard on yourself. Many things in life cannot be planned and will occur naturally but the good routines you have formed can hold you in stead and keep you focused on your health, work and success when these unplanned things do happen.
Like many things in life it is about balance but ultimately which would you prefer; a life of health and vitality, feeling good and in control of your life or one of following the herd and being a tv or junk food junkie. Of course choose the one which you think is right for you, but know which serves you best and that it is you that has the choice.
Habits are said to be hard to change but this only makes us less likely to do it, make the focus positive and part of your routine and it will feel much easier.
Some helpful tips:
Define your goals and what you want to achieve – use the SMART approach.
- Write down your goals and break it down in to actions that you will add in your daily and weekly routine.
- Write down the days and times that you will be doing your new activities such as going to the gym/ meditating etc
- Stick to it without fail if any excuses enter your mind – ignore them.
For the first 4-6 weeks it may feel difficult, but focus on all the positives ( such as how good you feel from a workout or meditation.) – also keep these written down and remind yourself of them regularly. Then once you have formed the habit it will become an enjoyable and life changing part of your lifestyle worth every single bit of initial effort.