Routine Is Your Ally

December 21st, 2010 by Patty Bear

I haven’t always loved routines.  Not by a long shot.  But routines are the quintessential autopilot.

If you’re not a pilot you probably think that the autopilot is there to fly the airplane for the pilots.  That’s basically true, but it obscures the real value of an autopilot.  Pilots don’t paid to fly the airplane – not really.  An autopilot can fly the airplane in most phases of flight and even land the airplane sometimes. While we love to fly, what pilots really get paid to do is manage an aircraft with hundreds of people moving at 6 miles a minute.  Moving that fast requires looking well ahead of the airplane, anticipating, and planning.  Sometimes that’s in thunderstorms, blizzards, traffic, unfamiliar environments, or in emergencies.  In these cases the autopilot takes over the routine task of flying so that we can do what we get paid to do – manage a highly dynamic environment with precious cargo.

And that’s just what routines do for you as well.  They handle lower level tasks so that you can perform at a very high level on what has the most meaning for you. As the rush of the holidays approaches, consider how routine could serve you to focus on what is most meaningful to you.

1.  Rather than being busy making sure every detail is perfect for your holiday party or family get together – give it your best effort and then let it go.  Relax and enjoy the people you’re with.

In the busy fast moving environment of the holidays, what would you need to put on autopilot so that you can be fully present with your “precious cargo”?

2. The holidays are the classic either/or conundrum for those concerned about a healthy weight.  Do I enjoy the holidays or do I gain weight and feel terrible later?

Reaching your ideal weight in a relaxed manner is something that I coach – particularly, for people who travel.  And the number one factor that sabotages their efforts is a lack of routine.  It’s hard to be successful at eating healthy when you often don’t decide what is being served or, sometimes, even when you’re going to be able to eat. There are so many factors that seem to be out of your control.

It is more difficult to reach or maintain a healthy body when your schedule is disrupted by travel or holidays, but it’s not impossible, and it doesn’t have to be hard either.  Here’s one routine that you can put on your autopilot year round.

Before you go to a party, a family gathering, or out with friends, eat an apple, a small handful of nuts, or a piece of whole grain toast.  Make that your routine.  Then when you get to the party you’ll have a much better ability to choose between foods that are just ok and ones that would really be exciting to taste.  If you truly love it – eat it. Have fun and take care of your health!

3.  The holidays are filled with people and emotions which may be exciting and/or exhausting.  Particularly at this time of year, set aside a specific time each day or each week that is yours alone.  Do something that recharges your batteries and raises your energy.

In Joy the holidays!


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