It’s amazing what can become a routine in your life. A couple of years ago I was extremely overweight and my idea of physical activity was walking to the refrigerator a few extra times for snacks. I hated exercise. I worked outside a lot and I didn’t mind sports, but I never wanted to exercise. I never wanted to try to ride in a charity ride or to run a 5K mud race. I didn’t want to do anything I didn’t have to do.

You know that all changed. I started riding, I lost 90 pounds, and I ran a Rugged Maniac race. I joined a gym and started running on the treadmill. I have started to turn my life around. I won’t say that I have completed the transformation. I think you never finish, there is always a way to improve what you are doing. Lately I have learned that I need to concentrate more on my diet, so there is always change. What I have learned recently is how much I have changed my routine.

Flashback to three years ago; I was miserable, but I didn’t know what to change. I always thought I was on a diet. I would eat yogurt or drink Slimfast for a while, lose 10 pounds and go right back to my normal routine. Next thing you know I had gained 15 pounds. This had been going on for years. Every once in a great while I would go to a gym and pretend to work out. I say pretend because I never took it seriously and I never went more than a few times before finding an excuse not to go back. I was in a routine and it was fine with me. I might have argued that it wasn’t, but I never made the changes necessary to get out of the routine either.

Once I was unemployed I really didn’t have an excuse to stick with the routine. I started writing at the same time I started seriously riding. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed both activities, but I was doing both as a way to keep my mind busy when I wasn’t looking for a new job. I needed a mental reset each day and writing and riding provided that change of pace. I would get up and look for work for the first five or six hours then I would jump on my bike. At some point in the week I would take a day off from riding to write about whatever I thought of when I was riding. It was a great break from tweaking resumes and cover letters. The writing and riding became my new routine. I looked forward to each ride and each new blog post. I deciding to challenge myself to update my blog every Monday for 52 weeks straight and I set some pretty aggressive cycling goals to give myself something to write about.

After what seemed like an eternity I found my current job. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with writing, riding, or fitness in general. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of giving up these activities once they became such a large part of who I see myself to be. I also did not relish giving up on my challenges that I set while I was unemployed. With a lot of support from friends and family I made it through the year and accomplished all my goals and logged every blog post. My routine held. Of course once I finished the 52 week challenge I had to keep going. My riding, and now my fitness program in general fuels my writing and my writing keeps me honest and motivated when it comes to fitness. That is a huge part of the reason I was able to get back to 90 pounds lost this weekend. I really wanted to be able to write that number again in the blog.

This is now my routine. It took a lot of effort to remold myself into someone who would care about fitness, weight loss, and blogging but I did it. I realized that I was successful this weekend when I wasn’t able to write. Normally Monday’s update is drafted on Saturday and then finalized on Sunday morning while my family sleeps. This weekend was hectic and I never had a chance to write. I was struggling with a topic and had a ton of chores to do so I concentrated on them instead of writing. I was hoping inspiration would strike, but it didn’t. I also had to take my bike to the local bike shop for a preseason tune up. This meant that I was unable to ride all weekend. No time on the trainer or outside. Nothing. This made my grumpy for most of the day and it took a while until it finally hit me, I was outside of my routine. I hadn’t written or rode my bike all weekend. I hadn’t even gone to the gym after Friday night. I have never felt more like a writer than I did at that moment. Finding myself out of sorts because I hadn’t written anything proved to me how much I had changed. This made me happy, which completely confused me, but I think everyone would understand. Sometimes it’s when we don’t do something that we find out how much doing it has become a huge part of who we are, and part of our routine.

What do you guys find to be an indispensable routine in your life?

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8 Responses to Routines

  1. My routine is an odd one that I discovered when I gave up teaching to become a full time writer. I need the house clean. I simply cannot settle unless the house is sorted. I find I enjoy the exercise of housework first thing and it is when I have a good old think about my writing goals for that day. Then, at about 9.30 I make some coffee and go to my desk.
    Tidy house, tidy mind.
    Nice post

  2. I not really a routine person. I am glad it works for you though.

    • Joe Johnson says:

      It never did before, but I find having a routine keeps me on track. I have to vary what I do in the routine because I can get bored pretty easy, but I like knowing that I have finished everything when I am done.

  3. julia says:

    I was also very busy this weekend, and searching for a topic for this week’s post. (Luckily, life provided me with something to talk about.) I finally got to writing last night (while watching The Walking Dead, which I find challenging to do both simultaneously).

    The indispensables in my routine are similar to yours: I do not like to skip even one day of exercise; writing keeps me grounded. But then there is crafting, which I inadvertently took this last week off of because I am just busy enough with everything else to not be able to get down to my craft area with a decent block of time in which to work.

  4. yceblu says:

    Congratulations of getting back to the ninety pound weight loss mark. Good for you.

  5. Joe, man, that last paragraph described my past week perfectly! Here it is, Tuesday night, and I’m late on my weekly post, and it’s killing me. I did get my workouts in, but as I had a race Saturday, it was a light/recovery week. Got my tail kicked tonight in kettlebell class because of last week. Once you’re out of your routine, you want to do ANYTHING to get back in it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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