Picture it: you have finally settled into the perfect routine – you’re eating healthy, hitting the gym, and getting enough sleep, and it feels great.
Then, the big change hits. You’re moving, or starting a new job, or your hours are changing. Maybe the change is even super exciting; your family is welcoming a new addition or you’re taking a well-deserved vacation! And yet, part of you starts to fill with dread, knowing your routine will surely be shattered and all your hard work lost.
But what if there was a better way?
Trust me, I know that sticking to a routine when everything is going right is hard enough; and staying in that routine when things start to change or get shaken up feels damn near impossible. Here are some tried and true tips that will help empower you to stick to your routine (or make an even better one!) in the face of change!
1. organize your week
To really start your week off on the right foot, plan on spending an hour or two preparing for the upcoming week. My weeks start on Sunday afternoons, so that means I carve out a couple hours Saturday evening or Sunday morning to set myself up for success for the upcoming week.
I take this time to make a meal plan and grocery shop; prep fruits, veggies, and daily snacks; do laundry and light cleaning around the house; plan my workouts for the week, and review my upcoming events, clients, appointments, or other items to make sure I have everything I need and won’t be caught off guard.
This is especially important to do when you’re dealing with changes, because that is when it is easiest for mundane chores and errands to slip through the cracks, or special dates to sneak up on you.
For example; if you review your calendar and see your kid has a birthday party to go to that weekend, you can plan on getting a gift while you’re out doing your normal errands and shopping rather than having to stop and grab something on the way and risk being late or having your day’s plans derailed!
Knowing what is coming – and planning for it – allows you to stay in the driver’s seat instead of feeling like you are running to put one fire out after another.
2. plan for obstacles
“Hope for the best but expect the worst” is not necessarily a bad way to plan when it comes to changes and routines!
When you are taking the time to organize your week, be aware of what potential obstacles may arise and have a back-up plan to face them head-on.
If your weekly staff meeting ran late the last two Thursdays and you didn’t have time to make dinner, plan to have leftovers or a freezer-meal this Thursday instead of expecting yourself to cook when you get home.
Identifying things that have the potential to get you off track and building a solution into your week will make your week feel smoother and less chaotic!
3. be realistic
You can’t do everything for everyone! AND – you shouldn’t have to.
I’ll say it again (to myself in the mirror!): you can’t do everything and you shouldn’t expect yourself to!
The intent behind planning and scheduling your week is not to cram it full of one million things to keep yourself busy! Planning your week ahead of time gives you the opportunity to control how your week will go and allow yourself to prioritize what really needs to be done and what doesn’t.
Changing times means that there may be more on your plate than usual as you begin to readjust. Understand the limitations that this may create for your schedule and honor that.
4. give yourself a break
Part of being realistic is scheduling downtime for yourself. Just like your body needs time to repair your muscles after a difficult workout, your body – and mind! – need time to recharge and rest.
Rest is important and necessary for your health and your productivity! Especially when you are dealing with changing or uncertain times, taking time to stop for a moment helps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.
Scheduling time for yourself every day – even just 10-15 minutes – to do something for yourself or do something that you enjoy, makes a huge impact on your day and actually helps you to be more productive. Make a point to take just a few minutes each day to allow yourself to rest. This could look like: taking an extra long shower or bath; taking a walk or doing a workout; reading or journaling; meditating or just sitting outside and enjoying nature; or anything that you enjoy that brings you peace!
5. keep a daily and weekly list – and calendar
An important part of planning your time is finding a way to (relatively) stick to your plan. I love a good to-do list moment – especially if I am able to plan ahead!
You can take your daily to-do lists to the next level by adding a calendar aspect to the list. When you are able to plan your daily and weekly to-do lists in advance, you can prioritize what can get done when, and organize your tasks, errands, and chores in an order that makes the most sense and makes your life easier.
Having a physical list – whether you are a pen & paper person or all digital – helps you to best plan your days and also make sure you don’t miss anything along the way!
6. ask for support
We’ve saved the best for last: ask for support!
When you are dealing with changing times, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success amidst the changes is to have a support system in place. This means: letting the people who rely on you know that you are dealing with changing times and may not be as available; telling those you rely on that you are dealing with changing times and may require more of them; reaching out to people you trust and asking for help and/or support.
It is always helpful to alert the important groups of people in your life to any planned major changes beforehand. This sets proper expectations of what you will be capable of during the tranisitionary periods as well as allowing the opportunity for those around you to extend any additional relief or assistance, which may help greatly in the long run.
All in all; everyone experiences changes throughout their lifetime. Remember to show yourself patience and kindness as you face changes and any accompanying challenges, and be sure to follow these steps to help yourself stay organized and ready for anything!
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