Archives for posts with tag: Routine

Whenever we want to improve at something, or fix something, we devise a plan – or an expert helps us do so. Then we have to commit to the plan. This is true for almost any change management exercise in business, which is another way of saying anything worth doing in business. Change is a constant after all.

This also applies to diet, exercise and health of course. It I want to get fitter, stronger or faster, I get a training program. If I’ve had an injury, an operation or an illness, I get a rehabilitation or recovery programme.

Let’s say you have a bad back, and you want to strengthen the lumbar region, improve your posture, or avoid slouching in your seat. You get some exercises.

But what’s the point of exercises that advise you to do them three times a day? We’re busy people and unless we do this stuff for a living it’s hard enough making time to do them once a day. Three times a day is too much of an ask.

I’ve had a few calf strains the last few years, and I’m advised to do sets of balancing and hopping exercises, three times a day. I’m usually good the first day or two, then I settle at one a day, then 3 times a week when I remember, for a few weeks until I decide I have recovered. Then I reoffend. My point is, I could probably spare 40-60 mins first thing in the morning and get it all over with in one go, but I can’t spare 20-30 mins spread over 3 instances in a 24-hour period. As George Herbert Walker Bush used to say, not gonna do it.

I know, if I was more organised, and maybe set my phone to remind me several times during the day, that I might increase my chances of success. I also know that there is a purpose to doing the exercises a few hours apart on a regular basis. What I don’t know is how you stay with the regime in a non-life threatening situation when you’re a busy person with demands on your time.

Most of us love routine. It grounds us, makes us feel comfortable and better able to handle what life throws at us.

I’ve written before about the discipline I enjoy from writing this blog. The quantity of my audience is of secondary importance, though I hope the small number that do subscribe or come across it feel the quality.

Some time ago, my wife turned 39. I had pondered long and hard about how to commemorate this event. For my 40th, my good lady had bought me 40 – yes 40 – presents. Now some of them were very small, but they were all extremely well chosen. My wife is not a big fan of shopping, but she is of Olympic standard when it comes to buying gifts for others.

With the bar set so high, then, I wanted to get it right. My answer was a concept that I called ’40 for 40’, an unwitting homage to the fabulous ESPN sports documentaries with a similar name. I decided that every week, for 40 weeks before my wife hit the 5th decade, I would present her with a gift and a card extolling one of her many virtues. Cute, huh? It was actually pretty tough finding 40 different and appropriate presents to reflect the topic of my card. The weekly discipline became a challenge I enjoyed. Sometimes I was a few weeks ahead of the game, and other times I was sweating it the day before.

I don’t remember ever missing the weekly deadline, and at the end of the 40 weeks I presented her with a book I had printed that collated the sentiments from the previous 40 weeks.

There’s interesting postscript to this example: whilst my good lady was very appreciative of the gifts and the thoughtfulness, the one thing she didn’t like was the weekly reminder, 9 months in, that she was ending one decade and starting another…

Still, you can’t win them all. I enjoyed the process :-).