One thing that I will always give myself credit for, is that I am the queen of quickly getting into a good routine and developing habits quite quickly. However, this also means that I’m very good at getting into bad routine and developing bad habits…
The link between poor physical/mental health and poor routine/habits is very evident in myself, which is why I know that forcing myself to start healthier habits and routines is so important to start feeling better within myself.
Many people want to be healthier, be more productive and feel better about themselves – which is a very good driving point to start off with; but it’s impossible to do without having a good core foundation of healthy routines and habits.
My life doesn’t really have a solid structure, some weeks I can have loads of hours at work, loads of university work and about 6 different social things to juggle. Whereas other weeks I have barely anything to do. This means a habitual routine can be difficult, but actually makes it more interesting because I’m having to put thought into everyday and a different plan for each day means I’m more engaged – rather than going through the motions of the same thing 24/7
Here are some of my tips:
Plan the week ahead
I have a desk planner which looks something like this:
On the Saturday or Sunday, I’ll spend about 10 minutes writing down the plan for the next week, and colour block each different event (e.g exercise is highlighted pink, university is highlighted green, work is highlighted yellow etc). This means that at a glance I can see what I have going on each day, whether things overlap and the plan of each day. This is important for the rest of the tips following
Write a to-do list daily
This makes me sound like your mum. But in the morning/previous evening, I’ll write a list of things I need to do the next day. A key factor in this is making sure the boring/rubbish/difficult tasks are at the top of the list, and you complete them first.
Going to the gym is something I really enjoy and don’t need to force myself to do, but for many people this is a struggle and something they’d rather put off. If you put this at the top of the list and make it the first thing that you do in the day, you’ll feel more accomplished and won’t have chance to talk yourself out of it.
Personally, I always put off emails or making phone-calls for appointments or other boring things, so I put these at the top of my list to make sure I actually do them.
Pack your bag the night before
I’m an early riser, and I don’t like to feel stressed or forget things in the morning. So I will pack my bag the night before and make sure everything is laid out where I need it to be.
You don’t have to be a gym-lad who meal preps 50 boxes of chicken and rice every weekend. But preparing a few meals in advance is important for ensuring you’re eating properly and not worrying about what/when you eat. Make sure you make meals that you will actually enjoy and will actually fill you up – in the past I would make bland and boring meals with the intention of being “healthy”, but I’d get hungry again in 1 hour and end up in Subway.
Remember that healthy does not equate to low calorie and diet.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
This is often overlooked, but if you’re trying to better yourself and make positive changes in your life – then you may need to asses whether you’re in an environment or situation to support that. I’m not saying to ditch your friends, but maybe mute/unfollow the people who don’t align with your goals. Social media plays a massive influential role in lifestyle choices, so start to follow people who are positive influences on you.
Having a support system and likeminded people around you is such a crucial part in helping you to stay focused and on track
Have a peaceful environment
A tidy bedroom and home environment is so important in helping you to stay relaxed and in a positive headspace. Otherwise, you will never want to be in your home and will constantly make last minute/impulsive choices to leave.
Make your bedroom somewhere that you can chill and actually recharge yourself, rather than climbing over piles of clothes and dirty dishes. As with the point above, the people you surround yourself with play a massive role in a positive life – but your environment is even more important.
I like to make my bedroom feel like a place where I can just chill and not have to stare at piles of clothes or tidying up. This also makes it easier to sleep well; which leads onto my next point..
Prioritise your sleep
One of the best books I’ve read was Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker.
Walker discusses all the different roles that sleep plays in our life, and how neglecting it can have massive catastrophic impacts on our health (mentally and physically).
Put your phone away, turn off distractions and try to get to sleep at a time that works for you. If you know what time you need to be awake in the morning, then switch yourself off 7-8 hours beforehand (e.g if you need to be awake at 6am, go to sleep at 10pm).
I’ve been at university for 2.5 years now, and I know that sleep is such a massive thing that people neglect and then wonder why they feel shit. I’ve also been in a situation where I was going to bed at 4am every night and waking up at 9am – wondering why I felt like death 24/7.
Question whether 4 nights out a week is more important than not feeling like death every time there’s sunlight
My final and over-arching point of this post is to plan ahead. Think about where you want to be, what direction you want to be going and what steps you need to get to where you are.
Filter out all the bullshit excuses that are stopping you from getting where you need to be, and start putting yourself first.
Once you develop a few key habits, the rest follow.