Day 2: Routine Challenge

How I'm challenging myself to be intentional in my routine and how I'm already experiencing growth.

Good-morning!

Today is the second day of the routine challenge (see it here) I’m doing on the blog and some of you have chosen to join me and be intentional about your own routines!

I have a few reflections to share today that I’ve already witnessed in the first two days of my own routine challenge.

1. Feelings That Have Come Up

Yesterday as I was going through my morning, getting ready to do another step of my routine I had a struggle moment of “do I even like this?”

I had just finished my quiet time (which I loved) and had already experienced being grateful for waking up early so I could enjoy a quiet morning (wrote about it here) and I was about to get ready for Church.

I wanted to try a new Church and that brought up some uncomfortable thoughts for me because I was going alone.

Thoughts it brought up: What if I can’t find the auditoriumrium? What if people know I’ve never been? What if it’s awkward? What if I wish I hadn’t gone? Should I just go to the other Church? Should I go at all?

This sort of thinking made throwing in the routine compelling. I started thinking: Maybe routine is just something that worked for me before. Maybe I don’t care about routine. Would it be better to just live-as-I-go?

I then remembered that this is all an experiment. That *I’d already decided* (key) I was going to Church at 11:00 and that I would try out a new Church. I reminded myself that *this is how I grow.* I do something uncomfortable that I’ve never done before, it usually turns out okay, and I grow because of it.

I went to Church (the new Church) at 11:00 and I loved it. It was small, people noticed me (meaning, they said hello and acknowledged that I was new) and it felt nice. I felt uncomfortable some of the time because it was new, and overall I was so happy that I went anyways.

2. What I’m Learning

This taught me that routine is helping me to grow. Routine is helping me to stay present (to show up) for the things that I want, even when they’re uncomfortable.

Wake up at 5:30 AM? When the alarm goes off my brain says no. I do it anyway. I’m so happy *with the result* of waking up at 5:30 AM because I get extra time to myself.

Go to Church alone? My brain talks me out of it. Stay safe, Paige! I do it anyway. I’m so glad that I did because *walking out of the Church* made me realize that I’d just fully walked outside my comfort zone and I loved it.

Stick with a routine all day? My brain says don’t you just want to go-with-the-flow? I stick with the routine anyway and at the end of the day I look back and recognize that *I got to do everything I wanted* vs letting things fall away and not get to do them because I ran out of time.

So far I am learning that adding in a bit of routine, especially in the morning, is really helping me to practice creating the life I truly want. It’s been fruitful so far, even though I’ve had uncomfortable thoughts.

3. How It’s Helped

Other than helping me to grow and do things that make me uncomfortable (but that produce awesome results that make me feel proud), there’s a third way I’ve discovered routine helping me. That is: being present.

I’ve been scrolling Instagram less, checking my phone less, and staying present to whatever I’m doing. Why is this?

I believe it’s because my heart knows that there’s a place for everything in my day. For example, yesterday evening I knew that Marco and I were going to work on the garage (we’re insulating the garage doors on our own) and so when we did that, my brain knew there was no where else to be. This was what we were doing. No phone checking. No rush to be elsewhere, just there, with my husband, working on a project.

This morning, I don’t feel the need to hurry up and check Instagram or hurry up and check email because I know when both of those things are happening today. They’re happening at 10:00 AM when I get to the coffee shop to work.

Speaking of coffee shop to work! My brain has also told me this morning: Paige, just work from home. You have a lot to do today. The coffee shop will take time driving – you could be working during that time. It’d be easier to stay home.

And then my routine reminds me that I’ve already agreed, on purpose, to going to a coffee shop this morning. This week is a client week where I’ll be pouring out deeply, each day. Today needs to have something special and different in it for work. I will be better for my clients, I will be more energized today, and I will get more done going to the coffee shop. I will be happier that I went than if I don’t go, so we’re going (even though my brain is talking us out of it with compelling reasoning).

4. Routine and Exercise

Yesterday on Instagram I was asked if I’d touch on exercise in todays post. Specifically: How do I structure workouts into my schedule while giving myself the flexibility to move intuitively?

In terms of structure, I like structure with my workouts just like I like to know what food I have on hand through the week so that I can eat intuitively. I view structure/routine as simply setting myself up to feel good, on purpose, ahead of time. This takes self-awareness, knowing myself, and acknowledging what does/doesn’t work. I absolutely view this as super-self-care.

This said, I used to force myself to exercise 5x/week for 60-minutes at a time just because I thought that’s what “you were supposed to do.” Today, my workouts are between 35-50 minutes and I know that 4x/week is what works for me. Find what works for you and make sure it’s coming from a place of “I do this to feel great” and because it adds to your life, not because you’re not acceptable the way you are and you “should” workout. Change that frame of mind – let it come from love and creating positive feelings.

In my current routine, I lift weights four days per week (and I have a plan of which weights I do on each day) and I walk Abby daily, at least once but more if I feel the need for more movement. The reason I have a plan for the gym is for efficiency. When I walk in not knowing what to do it’s more difficult for me to enjoy the gym. Walking in with a plan just feels like a map. It makes it so much more easy and enjoyable.

As the sun comes out and the seasons change I plan for my routine to evolve into more outdoor activities. Rather than indoor strength training (which was great in the winter when there were less outdoor activities to do) I see myself taking more walks, hikes, swimming at the lake, tubing, and paddle boarding. I allow for this evolution every season and that’s how I keep things intuitive.

My answer here is two parts:

1) My exercise routine changes as the seasons change. This keeps things fun and intuitive for me. In the winter, I want to be inside more so I find indoor movement that I like.

2) In the summer I like to be outside and with friends more so I take up a lot of outdoor, fun movement and fill my time with it.

The other part of this question was: How do I blend formal strength and cardio versus restorative movement over the course of a week? Do I do a certain amount each week? Or make a call day by day?

I am still working on this, but what I will say is that if I’m doing a movement and it doesn’t feel right for my body I will modify that movement. I trust my body so that I don’t hurt myself.

I hope that helps!

Your Turn

This routine challenge has produced so much more evidence and “fruit” than I expected it to. Trust me, HALF of my brain is like WHAT are you doing?! But then I look at the results of what has happened in just one day and I see how beneficial deciding what my days will look like ON PURPOSE is for me.

How about you? What has your experience been like so far? Has your brain been fighting you too? Have you gone ahead with your plans anyway? Or did you believe the thoughts that made you stop or throw the routine out? How has that been for you? No shame, either way! Remember, it’s all an experiment. Share in the comments. I want to hear!

Love, Paige
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