Many of us have been caught in this vicious circle where we are so busy with our daily lives that our lives are passing by without us achieving any tangible goal’s.
As we wakeup we are often bombarded with one thing after another, and before you know it ……it’s bedtime and we have achieved nothing more than going to work and making it back home.
I know I am definitely guilty of doing that in my life.
Often if you don’t pay attention …. the little time thief’s that exist in all our lives will rob us off all our spare time and we would have nothing to show for our wasted futile efforts.
Being aware of the time thief’s in our individual lives is so important for our ability to make the most of the 24 hours we have in a day.Unfortunately, even knowing this is not enough as we will have to take steps to implement them for them to be useful.
That is where having a routine in your life is so important.Doing things that are almost automatic takes the hard work out of scheduling it to happen. For example …..we all know we need to wake up in the morning and brush our teeth , have a bath etc, and on most days you don’t really have to give this much of a thought as you find your way to the toilet to do the needful almost automatically.
However, to establish that routine does take considerable effort, but with time the amount of effort reduces as the brain becomes accustomed to the fact that you’re reprogramming it to do that act daily. Of course, to make it easier, it’s better to try to do the act you’re trying to make a routine at the same time every day so that your brain can associate that activity to that time.
I have been struggling to incorporate exercise as a routine in my life as a regular activity, I have months when I exercise daily, and there are months that I fall off that bandwagon. It’s through this start stop start cycle of exercising that I have come to the realisation that doing an activity at the same time everyday has the power to make you commit to the act a lot more than doing it at different times of the day. It also gives your extra brain space to think about other more important things that you need to think about without using the brain’s “RAM” so to speak.(RAM-random access memory – which is type of memory that a computer uses to store files that it is using frequently so that it can call upon it fast to prevent or reduce the lag).
Hence the automaticity of a routine is something that has come into my realisation only very recently, and now that I realise how powerful it is … I felt I should share it with the world, with the hope to help someone who might be in the same boat as me. It’s important to realise that forming a new habit takes time, and persistence, therefore don’t try to form too many routines at once. Work on one thing at a time. Be kind to yourself if you fail to do it on the odd occasion but ensure that you’re not making a habit of intentionally skipping the routine as far as you can help it. The development of any new habit will cause pain and discomfort but pushing through this is absolutely vital provided it’s not a pain that has resulted from an injury. In my personal experience I’ve noticed when I have stopped running for months on end and restart, firstly my fitness is down in the dumps, it would take me 2weeks of walking and running intermittently to be able to get back to running all the way even for 3-5 km’s. These 2 weeks will be full of pain resulting from sore joints and delayed onset muscle soreness which usually does get better with time and some minimal interventions like a routine of stretching prior and after the run or getting a scheduled massage the day after the run.
Steps to help you stick to an activity would be to define why you are doing that activity and have the end goal in mind, and then taking the baby steps daily to reach that goal. This method can be extrapolated to anything you’re trying to achieve in life. For example, if you have a 300-page book to read, try reading 5 pages in the morning and 5 pages prior to bed, which is completely doable and in 30 days you would have finished the book. So making it a habit to that first thing when you wake up and before you sleep would automatically help you achieve the ability to read 12 books a year!
I have noticed that if you divide the facets in your life to categories and then list your goals in each categories and the steps you need to take to reach those goals gives you a very good sense of direction and strong motivation to keep on with the daily task as you can see that you’re working towards fulfilling your vision which gives a tremendous sense of achievement.The domains I like to use are as follows:
1. Physical Fitness
2. Professional Development
3. Spiritual + Mental Fitness
4. Financial Health
5. Lastly – Vacation planning and Execution
Under each of these headings writing down what you plan to achieve and what steps you need to take to achieve it will give you a strong sense of motivation to plan your day accordingly and avoid temptations to deviate from your planned activity. Visualising the end product daily in your mind every morning is also very powerful to keep you on track as if you can visualise it in your head, you can definitely attain it.
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! And“if you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there”.!