Change your routine, change your life

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.” -Marcus Aurelius

One of the things I learned during my time at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is: How you do one thing is how you do everything. Meaning, if you make healthy changes in one area of your life, the rest of you will follow. Pick the lowest hanging fruit, whatever that might be for you, make a positive change there, and the benefits of this change will ripple out amongst the harder to change aspects of your life. Or, continue to make poor choices and this will affect the rest of you as well.

We can see evidence of this in our daily lives. It’s the reason for recommending a positive morning routine. How you start your day tends to dictate how the rest of your day will go. Make smart choices here and it is far more likely you will have a good day. In the same way, if you declutter your physical surroundings, your mental clarity will improve as well. Or, eat junk food, expect junk thoughts.

Keeping this in mind, I have decided to embark on an 80-day challenge to improve my physical health. What I really want to improve is my tenacity, my stick-to-itiveness, and the belief that I can do hard things consistently in order to improve. In other words, I want to cultivate my ability not to give up on myself and my inner accountability. I am the only person who can hold me back, and so…I’m going to make myself harder to kill.

This fitness program is likely to be harder than anything I have done in a long time. Both physically and mentally. I tend to make things easy on myself. I do challenging things but I choose only those things that have a low possibility of failure. Especially when no one else can see and when it doesn’t matter to anyone but me, I will give up or choose a different path if things get rocky or inconvenient.

Since this challenge involves showing up every day for such a long period, I’m going to have to make better choices in order to get it done every day. I’m going to have to schedule the time, say no to things that will distract me from my goal, and find a way to do the workouts when I’m away from home or when it isn’t convenient. Each workout is long enough (45-60 minutes!) and difficult enough (intermediate to advanced) that I can’t just skip a day and say I’ll make it up tomorrow.

It will be hard. I will be sore. I’m not sure I’m cut out for advanced-level workouts every day. Working out for an hour every day is a big time commitment for me. I’m not going to want to do this. I will have to make myself do it. This is exactly the kind of thing that I would historically wash out of in the first week.

All of this things will be good for me. Yes, physically—I’m fully expecting to have abs and a butt by the first week of December—but more important to me are the mental advantages to this challenge.

Why did I pick a physical challenge rather than, say, a more typical one of writing or reading skill? Because that would be typical and I would get typical results. My introverted self would revel in that and excel to meet the challenge. I would feel great about myself and feel an awesome sense of accomplishment…but I wouldn’t improve. I wouldn’t break out of my comfort zone or push myself to another level.

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten. That’s paraphrased, and I don’t know who originally said it, but you get my drift. I needed to do something different to get different results. I needed a slap in the face to break me out of my long-entrenched rut.

Also, I chose an at-home workout because I have used the external accountability of a live studio before. While live classes are the bomb and some of our local studios are fabulous, for my needs here–to change long-entrenched habits–I needed internal accountability. If I don’t show up no one knows but me and my computer. No one cares if I succeed at this but me.

So I took this challenge. It is called the 80 Day Obsession, led by fitness expert and fellow IIN grad Autumn Calabrese, streamed on Beachbody on Demand. I like her because she is super motivating without being fake or superficial. She designed this program to be challenging whether you are super fit or kind of half-assed (literally) fit like me. I mean, who wouldn’t be challenged by 80 days of different workouts? The cast filmed in real time. So, they did 80 days in the order in which it appears to the consumer. To me, that is awesome. It was important to Autumn that the person at home felt like they were in a live class. The people on the screen feel the sore muscles that you feel and you are in on the inside jokes only people that are committed to this crazy thing would get.

This adventure starts for me today as soon as I get home from my long weekend visiting family. Normally, I workout in the morning, so it would be easy for me to choose to skip today and start my journey tomorrow. This would be a mistake, however, because the best day to start is always today. If I start to make excuses and put today’s workout off until tomorrow–altering my routine on the first day–that sets up a poor expectation for the rest of the challenge. Nope. I’m starting today.

I’ll be sharing my experience on my Instagram stories (@nourishmehc) and my Facebook page (@nourishmewellness). It would be great if you could follow me there and cheer me on from time to time! Tell me about your experience breaking out of your shell or doing things differently in one area of your life in order to improve your life as a whole. I would love to hear from you in the comments!

If you find this useful, there’s a good chance your friends will, too. Share this with your friends right away while you are thinking of it. Thanks for reading!

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