One question I get asked a lot is how I stay disciplined when it comes to being healthy. The first thing I’ll say is that I know what I want. I want to be healthy. Therefore, my actions have to be in alignment. Those actions (or habits) equal discipline. This is why I’m a firm believer in having a routine. That doesn’t mean I never stray from it, but most of the time, here’s what a typical weekday looks like:
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My Morning Routine…Starts the Night Before
In order for my mornings to succeed, I have to start the night before. Once I finish cleaning the kitchen after dinner, I set the table for the next day’s breakfast. This includes putting out the tableware, taking out my morning vitamins and having a lemon and knife on the cutting board ready to go. I even pre-mix the dry ingredients of my oatmeal. My kids have to be at their school desks by 8am so every minute counts in the morning. If it’s Sunday night, I also make sure their lunches are packed. Our sitter does this the rest of the week.
My Actual Morning Routine
I wake up at 6am to gradual nature sounds on my gentle wake alarm clock. After giving thanks for three things in my life, I get up, and if my husband’s at his 5:30am CrossFit class, I make the bed. Otherwise, I only make my half and put on workout clothes. I go to the bathroom, scrape my tongue, brush my teeth and apply deodorant. Then I drink 2 glasses of water before sitting down to meditate for anywhere between 5-20 minutes.
After meditating, I go down to the basement for my Tracy Anderson Method workout, which I do 6-7 days per week. On a day I don’t workout, I’ll meditate longer or spend extra time on my hair because it’s a thick attention whore. After my workout, I go upstairs to the kitchen and effusively greet my dog. I let him out to do his business and put out his food and water.
I take my vitamins with a glass of lemon water and put out fresh fruit for my kids to have with their breakfast. Next, I pack their lunch boxes in their backpacks. If I didn’t do it the night before, I empty the dishwasher. Then I add water to my oatmeal, stick it in the microwave and go back upstairs to get ready for work. By this time, my husband has likely already gotten the kids up, and on a good day, they might even be downstairs.
I wash up, get dressed and do maybe 3 minutes of makeup. When I go back into the kitchen, I grab my oatmeal and some fruit before sitting down to eat. By the time I’m finished, the kids are ready to walk out the door for school. My husband and I like to do the school run together, and if he has to be in the city, I drive him to the train station after we drop off the kids. Then I come home, clean up the kitchen, and ask the dog if he’s ready to go to work. Spoiler alert: he most definitely is.
On my way to work, I listen to Pandora or one of my favorite wellness podcasts. After I drop my dog off at the doggie daycare 5 minutes from my office, I get to work around 9am.
My Workday Routine
Of course, each day at work is different depending on what’s going on at the moment. In general, I structure my day around my Microsoft To Do app. I flag my important emails and then generate tasks from a combination of those, my physical inbox, conversations with my team or whatever my brain conjures up.
In order to stay focused, I use a notebook to keep me on track. Whenever I’m working on something, I write the task down in my notebook, along with any steps and notes as I go. I try not to look at my messages or emails until I’ve completed that task. This method also helps me stay organized because I can go back and use my notes as a reference.
Throughout my workday, I drink a combined six glasses of water and herbal tea. I get Daily Harvest delivered to my office so I always have their bowls or flatbreads on hand for lunch. Some weeks, I treat myself to Sakara instead. My go-to snacks are fresh fruit, and in the afternoon, I almost always have a protein bar, either a Sakara metabolism bar or a BTR peanut butter bliss bar. I have them both on subscription so I never run out.
Around 4:30pm, I leave to pick up my dog and head home. My favorite podcast for the ride home is The Toast so I can get my daily pop culture fix. I get home right around 5:30pm to relieve our sitter. She picks the kids up from school every afternoon, helps them with their homework and makes sure they do their daily chores. She’s always happy to help with a load of laundry or unpacking deliveries, which helps make our days run a lot smoother.
My Evening Routine
Once our sitter leaves, I get dinner started according to what’s written on the dry-erase calendar and say hi to the kids. While dinner is cooking, I catch up on any emails, messages or work. I also feed the dog his dinner.
During dinner, we like to play “Rose, Thorn, Bud” where we say our favorite thing that happened that day, our least favorite thing and what we are looking forward to tomorrow. After dinner, I send the kids upstairs to get ready for bed and drink my final glass of water for the day. Then I clean the kitchen and prep for the next day. If it’s early enough, the kids come back downstairs and hang until around 7:30pm. Lately, we’ve been playing Super Mario 3 together. If they want to watch a show, I’ll sit in the living room with them and read a book, unless my husband is home. Husband > book.
At 7:30pm, the kids head upstairs, and my husband and I attempt uninterrupted adult conversation with varying degrees of success. Then one of us lets the dog out one more time before putting him to bed, and I psychotically straighten and karate chop all the couch pillows.
Once upstairs, I chat or read with the kids who are most definitely not asleep yet. If there’s laundry to put away, I do that. Then I get ready for bed. This consists of taking a shower and then spending approximately 100 years moisturizing before getting into my pajamas. If it’s early enough, I’ll read before falling asleep, ideally somewhere between 9:30-10pm.
Daily Routine Notes
Something that helps me is taking out as many small decisions from my day as possible. I can make massive decisions easily, but small decisions, like what to eat, have the ability to paralyze me. Maybe it’s a Libra thing. To avoid paralysis by analysis, I take a formulaic approach to these smaller decisions.
For example, my breakfast is almost always oatmeal or Sakara. At the office, my lunches are Daily Harvest or Sakara. Dinners are planned out with the family on Sundays so there’s no time spent figuring out what to cook after work. It’s the same for getting dressed. In cold weather, I’m wearing a sweater and trousers with warm boots or sneakers; in warmer weather, it’s a t-shirt and trousers with sneakers.
That’s pretty much it! Depending on the day, I might be traveling for work or I may have to time things around different after-school activities, but in general, the above is what my week looks like.
During the weekends, it’s obviously a lot more laid back without school and work. I still meditate, exercise, eat lots of healthy food and drink a ton of water, but it’s much less on a schedule. My husband and I might order in instead of cooking. We let the kids stay up a little later. It’s like a mini-vacation every week, but then it’s nice to get back to the routine on Monday mornings. Along those lines, I don’t look at my routine as restrictive; I see it as grounding. Sticking to a routine is how I stay disciplined enough to get what I want. And I really like it when I get what I want.