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How to Create Healthy Change by Tweaking Your Routines

A few simple changes, so easy you’ll wonder why you waited

Woman riding her bike on a path near a harbor

Is it time to change up your routines at work or at home? I’ve been thinking about and acting on, my daily habits. Maybe it’s due to the promise of spring and new growth, but I like to think it’s also focused thought.

Habits are just routines that we have put into place. Decisions are made either consciously or unconsciously.

I've known for some time that getting out of my home office and moving a little more would benefit me physically and mentally. It wasn’t until I spent some time with a friend who also works from home, that I could see how to painlessly incorporate more movement into my day.

Her motivation to move is part of her recovery from a major car accident. Mine thankfully, isn’t as traumatic, unless you count an upcoming high school reunion traumatic. I don’t, but it does give me some motivation to get more fit.

Routines are simply decisions made into habits

blank notebook on a table with a pen on the notebook

It all begins with how you start your day.

For years, I began my day with journal writing to clear my head and get focused. My start time wasn’t consistent, because my work as a coordinator of volunteers meant shifting work hours. Now that I’m self-employed, I'm choosing my own work hours and setting the alarm for a consistent start.

The key is to remove as many decisions as possible, making other tasks that require more thought and willpower, easier to accomplish.

Make your wardrobe selection easy by choosing the standard colors and types of clothing you wear. Take the decision-making out of the process and free yourself for the bigger tasks. The same for your breakfast choices.

Then, the best piece, schedule and commit to a 15 to 30-minute walk before going to your office... down the hall. . That simple practice will make it easier to likewise schedule additional movement breaks.

Movement routines reconnect you to nature

Rather than the “big” commitment of the gym a few times a week, now I'm on my feet and moving three times a day. It doesn’t mean that I won’t get to the gym, but now I have a more consistent schedule which motivates me to keep moving.

Beyond the obvious benefits to your body for your future goals, you'll also re-discover the joy of being out on a spring day. Re-connecting with the natural world and getting to know your neighbourhood.

Now that the health consequences are showing up due to our sedentary work and lifestyles, you may want to consider ways to change some of your work routines. How about replacing a coffee break with a walking break, or maybe a 10-minute pre-lunch walk? If you’re in a management role, is it possible to create a movement meeting?

The best thing about routines is that you can change them. Just because that’s the way “it’s always been done” doesn’t mean you can’t decide to do something new.

Like anything else in leadership, personal or otherwise, it’s about decision-making and follow-through. You set the tone, you can also set the pace. Will you?


Originally published May 7th, 2018

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