The Importance of Routine

Intuitive eating
Healthy eating
breakfast with tea and a book

Some love it, others hate it. But let's face it, these days, maintaining a routine is no easy feat.

But, first of all, what exactly is a routine? It is defined as "a mechanical habit, thoughtless, and which results from a succession of actions repeated over and over." (Thank you, Larousse Dictionary)

After reading this, we can see that at times, routine can get boring or even irritating. Eating the same meal, at the same time, every single day, talking about the same subject; it's not very exciting.

Routine to simplify our life

It’s a wonderful adaptation of our brain to free up concentration for other activities that require making choices. It allows you to not have to wonder about "how to make toast" because it’s already been programmed in our brain as a routine. This saves us lots of time and energy! In fact, the “morning routine” is made up of several routines. If they did not exist, every action would be thought out and analyzed, which is a very long and energy consuming process. It's interesting to note that we have routines for all occasions: week days, the weekend, at the cottage, at parties, etc. They are everywhere in our lives.

Routine for a healthy lifestyle

Routine is the cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle and for a good work-family-personal balance. Routine allows you to take care of yourself as much as you take care of others.

These days, let's face it, our schedules and life plans are continuously changing. It can be quite stressful since everything has to be rescheduled way too often! Following a change in their life, I often see clients fall back into their old, less healthy routine..

Here are some examples :

  • The day is busier than we thought at work ... we will skip a workout
  • We're in a hurry… we're going to skip a meal or order something
  • We need to relax… we’re going to have one (or two, or three) glasses of wine (and often more!)

These changes are not a problem when they are on occasion. But when we start to stray from our goals, or from good health, it's time to rebalance the routine in order to avoid eventual problems!

Tips for good routine habit

  • Identify the structuring points of your day and their duration (sleep, work, school, necessary travel ...)
  • Identify healthy habits to maintain or to establish (physical activity, time to cook, grocery shopping, sleep!)
  • Identify your hobbies (social media, art, video games)
  • Identify the durations:
    • Necessary: ​​for the structuring points and for the healthy lifestyle habits
    • Desired: for the hobbies
  • Put them on paper as a schedule
  • Be realistic, if there is not enough room in the schedule, you need to find some. ...
    • Healthy habits are non-negotiable!
  • Get into action!

Finally, a routine allows you to do several actions everyday without thinking about them and that's perfect. It allows us to free our attention to do something else. On the other hand, when routine is turned upside down too often, it’s important to check up on our habits and to optimize them often in order to avoid adopting suboptimal habits, which won’t lead you to live a better life!

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist