I traveled to New York City on March 15th and just got back to the west coast on Monday night.
One thing that stood out was the importance of routines.
Even in the midst of hard core tourism, I made sure to keep a mini-routine each day.
I found a coffee shop near where I was staying, and committed to walking the 4 blocks (in pretty chilly temperatures!) every morning with my laptop to get work done.
2-3 hours each day was my “mini-habit”.
After that, I was free to walk the city and see things.
My exercise was mostly walking, combined with stretching and pushups in the evening.
And, even though there were some “cheats”, like delicious New York pizza, I consistently reverted back to eating low carb paleo-ish, doing without bread and other processed carbs.
So I came back feeling like I’m not out of shape. Like I didn’t lose time or health.
Routine is what made this possible. Without routine it would have just been doing “whatever” each day, getting behind on work, and developing a pizza belly!
Routine is what it takes to make fitness gains, swimming gains, and also happiness gains.
But within routine, there needs to be plenty of wiggle room. Maybe you do your swim in the mornings, typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
But yesterday morning you woke up and just really felt “off” about getting in the pool.
This is where mixing it up can be great. Maybe another 30 minutes of sleep will do your body much better than forcing that workout.
Or maybe you actually feel like running, even though it’s not a designated “run day”. This is where routine can be kept, but listening to your body, listening to your mind, will get you the best results.
Yesterday, I really wanted to do sprints in the morning. Usually that would be an afternoon or evening thing for me. But I went with what I was feeling instead, did a few sprints on the beach– and it led to a day full of more energy than ever!
The bigger picture when it comes to routine is:
Workout daily in the morning. Or at noon. Or in the evening. These routines make things habit, and when you can put things on auto-pilot, you won’t have to think about doing it, or second guessing your workout decisions.
And if you give yourself permission for changing things up, there is never a need to be a stickler about what order you do things in, or what activity you “must” do on any given day.
If I can do this, I know you can too.
Befriend the water!