Is Routine the Key to Success?

Is Routine the Key to Success?

by Cait on April 12, 2012

The reply from the entrepreneurs who read this will undoubtedly be no. But when it comes to paying off debt and trying to live a healthy lifestyle, I’m starting to think the answer is yes and yes again.

Now, I should point out that I think a routine is very different from a habit. A habit is a specific tendency, like biting your nails or cracking your knuckles, whereas a routine is more like a fixed program. While both words have a negative connotation attached to them, I think a lot can be accomplished with a good routine.

Last month, I created a great new routine for myself. I shared with you all how I was working out 4-5 days per week, and also eating better, but I didn’t give you all of the steps I was taking to make those things happen. It took a few weeks to make it a routine, but here’s what a typical week in March looked like:

  • On Sunday morning, I went through the grocery flyers and planned my meals and snacks for the week. Then I visualized the grocery store and re-wrote my list in order of what aisle each item was in. (Sounds crazy, right?)
  • On my way back from my Sunday morning #pfworkout, I went to the farmer’s market for produce and the grocery store for the rest. Using my list, I only walked down the aisles I needed to, avoiding everything else (mostly the junk food aisles).
  • On Sunday afternoon, I made up at least a few days worth of lunches and snacks, so there was no question about what I was going to eat.
  • On Tuesday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went to the gym.
  • On Wednesday evening, I made up a couple more days worth of lunches and snacks.
  • On Thursday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went to the gym.
  • On Friday evening, I went to the grocery store and got a “treat” for dinner. Friday night was my splurge night and it was full of all kinds of deliciousness!
  • On Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and went to the gym. And you know how the next week started, after that…

Now, I can see why some people might find this annoying. And I used to be one of those people! But having a routine (a.k.a. a cash budget) is what has kept me on-track with my debt repayment, much like this timetable is helping me live a healthier lifestyle.

I don’t think I realized how much I relied on that routine, until I moved to the house I’m staying at this month. Early morning workouts during the week are physically impossible here and I’m beginning to see the repercussions of only working out on weekends. I’m feeling lazier, hungrier, and I’m scared to death of stepping on the scale. And old habits, like giving in to mid-afternoon sweet tooth cravings, are creeping back with a vengeance.

So, it seems I am a routine girl; when working towards a particular goal, anyway. And how can I feel like a routine is bad, when it’s helped me pay off more than $15,000 of debt and started my weight loss journey?

How do you feel about routines? Do you think having a monthly/weekly/daily plan is boring? Or is it what you need to get certain things done?

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