Is Boring Good for You? The Science Behind Routine Repetition.
General Health

Is Boring Good for You? The Science Behind Routine Repetition.

While some say that routine in exercising can be boring - it may be more beneficial than you think. Consistency is key in exercise, diet and other aspects of life!

  • When it comes to self-discipline - it is much easier with limited options!
  • When establishing routine there is an easy rhythm to enjoy
  • Make sure you stick to your routine by sticking to timing!

Put Routine into Your Routine

I recently read an interesting article in Mark’s Daily Apple about the value of consistency in your workouts. While some suggest that routines are dull, practical and for sluggards all around, the article pointed out that a routine may be a critical tool for achieving certain health goals.

  • Consistency is key when it comes to working out.
  • Consistency is also key when it comes to your diet.
  • When you limit other options, self-discipline does not matter as much!

The author quoted Flaubert: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” For many of us, a good, heart-pounding, foot stomping, weight throwing violent workout is exactly what we need at the end of a crazy work week. However, unless we prepare for these bouts of athletic exuberance, we can invite injury or setbacks. A weekly routine of alternating weights, cardio, and stretching accompanied by a diet that fuels us is essential if we want the freedom to be bold and wild in our efforts to push the limits while keeping life and limb functioning and improving.

Consistency is Key

Many of us are locked into demanding work schedules, long commutes and family or social obligations. We easily make excuses as to why we can’t fit in a regular workout – relying on extra time during the weekends or “warrior vacations” to try to keep in shape. We embrace the stress of the job and the commute; many of us seeking stimulation from food, drink or other activities but denying ourselves the exhilaration and exertion of a daily workout (a one hour workout is 4% of your day, and sometimes 30 min is enough). If we wish to improve or maintain our health, it’s essential to develop a consistent approach to physical activity.

We all know people who spend an enormous amount of energy anchoring their lives down as if it will somehow keep them secure. But this isn’t using routine in service of the good life. It’s mistaking routine for life. After all, we only have so much energy – and it’s therefore important to be clever about how we apply it. The more consistent, methodical or mindful we are about some things, the less thought we need to invest in them. Routines, therefore, can be very useful tools.

Spoiler alert: most of us want to get healthy but aren’t exactly thrilled about the actual process of doing it. Getting in shape seems like a great idea. Losing weight has been on your mind for years, or for some even decades? And, yet, many people assume that they’re going to have to harness some supernatural force of self-discipline to get the job done.

Food for thought: it doesn’t have to be that way. Some easy tidbits to digest as you develop your own routine:

  1.  Think about how much routine you can embrace and where in your life you can compromise to fit it in. Note where you feel resistance, and prioritize where you’ll create structure and what you’ll let remain flexible.
  2.  Make one meal the same every day – ideally the one that is most likely to trip you up. For some people this may be lunch because of the temptation of work gatherings. Others may choose breakfast because it’s often a frenzied, out-the-door choice. Change this up as needed to keep boredom at bay with your diet.
  3.  Develop a weekly meal plan, but again, change it before you get too tired of it.
  4.  Purchase food in bulk to keep your core foods consistently available and build your diet around them.
  5.  Limit social eating events, or eat before you leave.
  6. Learn to bring your own food wherever you go throughout the day. This may not be necessary or possible for everyone, but for some people it can make a big difference.
  7.  Work out at the same time each day.
  8.  Design a weekly fitness plan: indoors and outdoors. Integrate cross training (including stretching). Keep this schedule no matter what.

Self-discipline matters much less when you limit the options. When it comes to fitness, there’s an easy rhythm to enjoy when establishing routine. Not only will we get better results faster with consistency, but we’ll stay more motivated. The key here is positive psychology. Research suggests that we’re largely motivated not by the big goals but by the positive effects we recently experienced and the anticipated regret we assume we’ll feel if we skip working out. The message is clear: don’t squander the mental capital of motivation by letting too much time pass or letting the timing of the next benefits get too vague. If you (like me) are a mere mortal and not an uber athlete, going back a few steps every so often can help you achieve greater gains over the medium term. Do the reps, but back off the weight. Do the HIIT but tone down the time of the intervals. Stick to the diet, but give yourself a treat. Don’t just hit the panic button and assume all is lost – allow your routine to guide you and shape you.  

Boring May Be Better: Why Routine May Be Best for Certain Health Goals | Mark’s Daily Apple

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