The Benefits of Changing Your Routine
For the past two years, I’ve been in a rut.
I haven’t had the motivation to exercise, or eat well, or push myself harder to achieve my goals.
Eventually, that sad routine put me in a place where I was very unhappy with myself, so recently I decided I needed to get out of the funk.
It wasn’t easy to make conscious decisions to cut back on drinking, wake up earlier, hit the gym several times a week (and actually work out), and eat healthier — but I did it. Changing my routine was the answer to having better days and being happier overall.
If you’re in a similar situation — where you just can’t seem to get it together — consider these benefits that I’ve experienced that will hopefully motivate you to make a change, too. (See also: But I Don't Want to! Secrets to Self-Motivation)
A simple change like altering my diet to include healthier foods and eliminating the pizza and burgers has made a big difference. I wake up earlier without feeling run down. In fact, I felt so energetic this morning that I went for a mile and a half run at 7 a.m., which is totally out of character. I’m noticing that I have more stamina to make it through the workday too, whereas before I would experience fatigue in the late afternoons, especially if my lunch was heavy.
Because of the level of increased energy I have, I’m more motivated during the day and really getting things done. I’m completing projects ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute, which leads to more time that I can spend cultivating new clients for my small business. Another benefit to increased productivity is that I can relax easier at night because I don’t have a million things on my mind that I should have done but didn’t.
When I’m in a slump, my head is not where it needs to be — and that’s detrimental to my creative profession. But the increased productivity and energy have a direct correlation to increased creativity. My mind is more open now because I’m not thinking about being sad and concentrating on the shoulda-coulda-wouldas of my life. Rather, I’m changing my routine so that the positive aspects of my life — along with my creativity — can flourish.
Feelings of Happiness
I’m a longtime sufferer of depression, for which I take medication. The meds help, of course, but I also took some time recently to think about the reasons why I feel depressed. Is it because of situations that happen to me or because of situations I created? After a bit of soul searching, I realized that I’m unhappy about several things over which I have ultimate control — like my weight, for instance. I’ve always been a thin guy, but I’ve put on some pounds over the past few years. I stopped going to events to which I was invited, and many times I refuse to take photos because I feel fat. That’s not the person I want to be. I want to be that happy, outgoing guy that I once was. After identifying one of the reasons that contributed to my feelings of worthlessness, I put the plan in motion to change. As a result I’m increasingly happier because I’m taking steps toward self-improvement I can be proud of.
Enjoying New Experiences
When I was in the same old routine of working from home and living like a shut-in, I missed out on a lot of activities and events. As I just mentioned, I didn’t want to go out because I didn’t feel good about myself. But now that I’m starting to feel better about myself because I changed my routine, I’m participating in more activities and meeting new people, all of which are pleasurable.
Being More Enjoyable to Be Around
If I didn’t want to be around myself before I changed my routine, I’m sure nobody else did either. Who wants to hang out with someone who’s depressed and whining about things that they can totally change? Definitely not me. So it stands to reason that when I’m in a pleasant mood, the people around me will enjoy my company much more.
How and What to Change
Changing your routine doesn’t have to include the changes that I’m making. Mine are rather serious lifestyle decisions, but if all you need is a small change, by all means, do it your way. There are lots of changes you can make — taking another route to work, altering your reading habits, switching the time of day you go to the gym, establishing date nights to enhance your relationship — the list is endless, really. The most important part of changing your routine is that it somehow makes your life better so you can reap at least a few of the benefits I’ve listed.
Your turn. I’d love to hear about recent changes you’ve made to your routine and the benefits you’ve experienced. Let me know in the comments below.