Routines Wherever You Are

Can you believe it’s September already? I recently heard that September is like the second January of the year. This makes sense to me because I get that “re-boot” feeling myself – I start re-focusing after the summer months, knowing that the end of the year is closer than ever, and there are still some goals I’m working on accomplishing before we roll into 2020. So, I guess it’s fitting that September has been deemed, National “Self-Care” and/or “Self-Improvement” Awareness month. How perfect that this falls immediately after August’s Keep It Simple Self-Awareness month! September also means that as kids head back to school, parents and caregivers get their “regular” lives back and they can, hopefully, focus more on themselves. But, practicing better self-care and re-focusing on one or two of those goals made during the year, usually means getting back into tried-and-true routines and establishing new ones that will help shake off the summer-time laid back, easy-peasy, I-can’t-be-bothered ones. Don’t worry, we all have them – so you’ll get no judgement from me!

Routines are huge for me, and the older I get, the more I understand that they are becoming non-negotiable for me. I’m realizing that I NEED them to be the better version of myself that I envision. In fact, the last several days showed me just how important sticking to my usual schedule is to my health and wealth. 

Last week, I went on a business trip, and then stopped to visit some friends and family for a few days on the way back home. Although I often tell myself at the beginning of any trip that I will keep up the routines that work best for my health and my energy levels, for some reason, I often forego them as soon as I arrive at my destination. Not so helpful, right?!

The routines that I know work best for me are:

  1. Eating healthy foods and drinking enough water.
  2. Going to bed and getting up at my usual times.
  3. Limiting my alcohol consumption.
  4. Reading, writing, exercising, and meditating.
  5. Keeping up with business stuff once or twice a day.

However, as this past week has shown, my routines often seem to be at the mercy of the agendas of the people I’m with. Now, that is by NO MEANS on them! It’s 100% on
me. In hindsight, this is a habit that has never served me well in the past,
nor in the present it seems – I’m not assertive enough with my own time, needs,
and routines. I tend to defer to what the people I’m with want to do and when
they want to do it. Now, when it comes to business (I was away to do a presentation
to a fabulous group of people last week), there are, of course, timelines.
Certain things need to be done at certain times. Those are non-negotiable. But
I have a habit of going on automatic pilot when I’m with people for whom I’m
working or visiting. Do I subconsciously think their time is more important
than mine? Perhaps. It could also be that I feel because they have me their in
their environment that I should go along with what it is that they want to do –
especially if I don’t have my own agenda or plans while I’m there.

That being said, once I arrive home, I then have to take a couple days to “recuperate” because I haven’t been following my regular, grounded routines! Which then takes away from what I want to be doing – you see where this is going, don’t you? It’s the proverbial snowball effect. It only stops rolling once I get myself back on track and feeling like myself again. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to get away and meet new people and visit friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. What needs work is how I prioritize my routines and make them happen regardless of where I am, what I am doing, or who I’m with.

Does this sound like you? I feel that I can’t be all alone on this one, right? Well, after some pondering, I came up with a few simple actions to help you and I stay on track during our next trip or visit:

First, set an intention for each of the above routines before leaving the house. Knowing what we want and what our motivation is for doing them means we’re more likely to follow through on them.

Secondly, pack healthy snacks and plenty of water for the “there-and-back” trip. I actually did this for the drive TO my destination, but then didn’t restock for the way back (insert sheepish shrug here). Additionally, set a goal to eat fruit and something green at least once a day. 

Next, preset an alarm for each morning’s wake up time. This will allow us to do a couple of things like exercise, meditate, and/or write before getting ready to go.

But, also set a reminder on our phone to go off each evening one hour before we want to be in bed. This will provide us with a timely jolt of awareness to start winding down a conversation, or to finish up a task.

If the trip may potentially involve wine (or your adult beverage of choice), choose one night on which that consumption will happen – or set a hard limit of one or two drinks.

Read at night before turning out the light. Not only does reading give us the opportunity to study, it can also help our brains slow down from the day. It works that way for me anyway! 

Finally, choose at least one dedicated hour every day to focus on business-related activities (i.e. the hour before dinner). This hour can change, of course, depending on what is going on in your world at the time. However, I personally feel it works best if it’s established at the same time every day. 

Establishing routines and making them a priority – whether for the purposes of self-care, self-improvement, meeting business goals – during business trips or personal visits can be a non-negotiable. Your time, plans, energy, health, goals and dreams are just as important as other people’s. So, no more apologies! Stick to the routines you need in your life to take care of you and your priorities. The people in your life who love and support you will understand.

Until next time…

Keep It Simple,

Michelle H.

 P.S. What are your non-negotiable routines? Share your stories, questions and comments down below!

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