Routine and Structure

     We were made for success.  Part of being able to succeed is having a plan.  With that plan comes a set of goals, objectives, tasks, and timelines.  In accomplishing what we are setting out to do, we must have an organized plan of action.  To erect any building requires blueprints and detailed designs and plans for it to be completed correctly.  Our lives are the same.  To get where we want to be, we must have a detailed plan and a set of instructions.
     This goes beyond goals.  This is about setting up routines and a specific structure of how we plan to accomplish this.  We, humans, are creatures of habit.  We like things to be consistent.  Most people do not like change.  Oh sure, once in a while we like to get "spontaneous" or a bit risky, but usually, even that is planned.  Our brains are most creative when we provide them with time, structure, and routine.
     A recent survey of artists and musicians actually showed the same thing.  It found that they did best at their trade when they had a very specific routine of working on a project.  Many times we think of these artists as only working when the inspiration hits them.  Songwriters especially stated they wrote their best when they were on a schedule with specific tasks and timelines before them.
     Stephen King has written many scary novels throughout his lifetime and is one of the most prolific writers.  He sits and writes for specific hours each day whether he is inspired or not.  Writers write, painters paint, musicians play, and do it best when they have a structure and a plan on how, when, where, and who to do it with.  
     If we are serious about losing weight and getting healthy or more fit, then we must have a routine established and a solid structure for our plan.  What we eat, when we eat, where we eat, how much we eat, and who we eat with, all play an important role in our program.  We get to decide all of the parameters.  The same holds true for our fitness plan.  What we do, when we do it, what level we do it at, and a plan for slow methodical advancement of our intensity and time of exercise is required to achieve great results.
     We must put some serious thought into developing a structure and routine that works for us.  I have many nurses in my weight loss clinic who work the evening or night shift.  They ask me how to incorporate a dietary and exercise plan into their difficult schedule.  The answer may be different for each of them.  I work with them to let them know they must establish a daily routine.  Deciding when they eat, what they eat, when they get physical activity when they sleep, and then keeping the scheduled day in and day out will lead to success.
     Difficulty and failure occur when we try to set different schedules and routines for different days of the week.  When we adhere to a certain structure Monday through Friday but throw it all out on Saturday and Sunday, we will struggle with success.  When someone works 4 days on the night shift, but attempts to reverse the schedule on days off, it rarely goes well.  In this case fatigue, disrupted sleep patterns and strange eating patterns develop.
     How does one make this work?  Sit down.  Decide what you really want to accomplish and why it is really important to you.  Design a schedule and plan and then institute it daily until it becomes a routine.  Turn the structure that's been set up into a daily routine and eventually thinking about it won't be necessary.  It will be done daily as a matter of habit.
     Of course discussing it makes it sound easy.  It is not.  Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to develop.  We must have strong reasons to attempt to change our daily behavior.  That's where the "Why" comes in.  Why do we want to lose the weight?  Why do we want to be fit?  Why is it important to be healthier?
     If we're paying attention during this Coronavirus crisis, then we know that people who have 2-4 underlying medical disorders are at greatest risk of getting admitted to the hospital, going into the ICU, and getting on a ventilator with an 80% death rate.
Having Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and any immune system deficiency can lead one down this devastating path.
     The great news is that we can control a good amount of these disorders.  Losing weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding foods high in sugar and unhealthy fat can reduce your risk of getting sick or potentially dying from COVID 19.  The same holds true for the flu, recovering from surgery, or being able to fight off any infection or injury.  Getting healthier means adding good years to your life.
     As Dr. Oz says.  You can be Vulnerable or you can be Vital.  Let's start today to become vital and full of energy so we can fight off this virus and prepare our bodies for a long and energetic life.  As I always say:  "Live Lean, Live Long, and Live Life to the Fullest!"


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