I am a fan of routine.
Sure, every now and then, I can use a bit of uncertainty to spice things up, but honestly, I’m kind of ritualistic. If I can’t have a routine, I’d at least like a specific deadline.
Deadlines give me a light at the end of a tunnel. If I know that I only have to do a certain task for a limited amount of time, then that task may not seem so daunting.
Now, I have a theory: Somehow, by combining my need for routine with my fondness for deadlines, maybe I can build new habits. Maybe I can make a game of it. And by replacing my bad, lazy habits with fun, good habits, I’ll find the secret path to self-improvement.
I’ve been testing this theory, and maybe you can, too.
I walk to work every day. It takes me roughly 45 minutes, which I prefer to the 45 minute bus ride I could take, since I save on the fare and give myself some “me” time.
Recently, instead of just walking the walk, I’ve thrown in a game: I engage my stomach muscles until I reach a bridge, of which there are many. When I get to the bridge, I can release. Simple.
One of the things I like about this is that I’m just folding in something extra to an activity I have to do anyway. It’s adding to the daily structure that I’ve already established, which is better for me than, say, a gym membership that I’d resent and rarely use.
Brown Bag Body Building
We have done our best to eliminate the need for heavy lifting in our modern society, and yet we complain about how little our arms are. There was a time when, after hunting down a T-Rex, we would have to drag it all the way back to the cave before we cooked and ate it. And yes, I learned most of my historical facts from the Flintstones.
My point is we don’t have the same opportunities to sweat, build muscle, and burn calories that our ancestors had, so we have to make them. I make mine with groceries.
Unless you’re in construction, bodybuilding, or child rearing, shopping is one of the few times you may get to lift 30+ pounds. Take advantage of that. Just do a couple reps before you drop them off on the counter.
Dance, Dance Revolution
One great secret to getting some kick in your step is music, the danceable kind that the kids all listen to. Or just your favorites. My favorite kind of routine is a dance routine. Always have your music available, so that your habits have an awesome soundtrack to follow, and that will also give you a time limit to strive for: get from point A to point B before the end of “La Vida Loca.”
Maybe not that exactly, but I hope you get my drift…