During my commute home from work, I typically listen to audiobooks. One of the most memorable pieces of advice I’ve heard so far came from Jeff Haden’s book The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win – embrace the routine, not the goal. Instead of fixating on a number on a scale, earning a certain dollar figure or making a big career change, Haden’s research shows that focusing on the daily routine and habits needed to drive your desired outcome is key to achieving it.
Hey, I’m a believer. Building and executing a healthy morning routine has improved my fitness, energy levels, happiness and career success. An early riser by choice, my morning routine typically includes four steps:
· Listen to a meditative recording before getting out of bed that reinforces positive behaviors and beliefs
· Write in my journal for about 15-20 minutes, using a gratitude rocket fuel exercise to power and set my goals
· Eat a healthy, filling breakfast and then get ready for work while listening to my favorite radio morning show app
By the time I leave at 8:00 a.m. for the office, I’m usually in a good mood and that sense of well-being lasts for hours. My brain tends to turn into a bowl of mashed potatoes later at night from the early start, but that’s fine. As with many people, the biggest challenge to maintaining this routine is travel. Whether you leave town for work or pleasure, a disruption to daily habits can make it hard to reclaim that rhythm when resuming your normal schedule. Here are three ways to take your wellness routine on the road:
1. Decide which activities are most essential. When I’m traveling for work, it’s much harder to replicate my normal morning routine when meetings and conferences are scheduled. So, I pick the most essential tasks for the day ahead. While attending our last corporate Board meeting, I condensed my morning routine into a meditative recording and abbreviated workout. Ended up writing my journal entry during the airplane ride home later that day, and still felt complete. Just returned recently from a fantastic, 11-day adventure exploring Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam with my husband and ahead of time, decided my wellness routine would be comprised of strength training every other day to compliment the massive number of daily walks planned. Armed with a list of body weight exercises from my personal trainer and decent gym hotels, I enjoyed some great workouts without missing a beat.
2. Prioritize sleep. Getting a good night of sleep is essential for feeling and being your best. Sometimes that is easier said than done when you’re on an unfamiliar mattress, can’t get the HVAC controls to deliver an ideal temperature or the hotel room occupants next door blare loud music way past your bedtime. Pack ear plugs and an eye mask in case you need them to drown out light and sound. Call the hotel staff to complain about noisy neighbors rather than wait hours for their party to end. Check out apps that can help lull you to sleep or wake up in a good mood.
3. Do your research. Just as you’d research sightseeing activities or do the necessary pre-work for an out-of-town business meeting, take a moment to check out what’s available to reinforce the essence of your normal routine. Take food and nutrition for example. It might be easy to maintain your Vegan diet in your home city of Chicago, San Francisco or Boston. But if you are headed to an industry dinner where steak is the main course, you might grudgingly become frenemies with the bread basket or remain hangry, hoping the salad course sustains you for the night. Part of my normal daily routine is enjoying a healthy breakfast, so I determine my choices in advance to ensure that happens. I also try to keep natural protein bars or packets of nuts in my computer bag in case there’s limited healthy eating options ahead.