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Removing chance from the equation

Creating and maintaining peak mental and physical wellness requires mindful effort, consistency, and planning. It doesn’t happen by accident. When we establish positive routines we take chance out of the equation and make success inevitable. Simple right? Not easy.

We’re going to talk about how making a plan, and then working that plan into routine and finally into habit, has no choice but to lead us down the path toward improved physical fitness, mental sharpness, and emotional well-being. Living a healthy, happy, balanced lifestyle is a lot of work at first, but it’s a practice so becomes easier the more we do it.

Powerful Planning. As the Alice in Wonderland quote goes, “If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take”. Start from the end goal and work backward. If you want to live with less anxiety, ask yourself what does that look like? Does it look like meditating and exercising regularly? Does it look like finally making the call to the therapist you were referred to but have been scared to call? Does it look like going to the library and checking out every book you can find on anxiety reduction? Does it look like all of the above? Whatever it looks like, make SMART goals and write them down. Write them down. Write. Them. Down.

Make these goals a priority. Do not attempt to “fit them in”. Put them in your calendar and block the time off. These entries are just as important, if not more so, than anything else in there. If you fail to block the time off, life is sure to get in the way.


1) Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will be at the gym at 5:30 AM

2) Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I will attend the 6:00 PM hot yoga class

3) I will perform 2 anxiety reducing techniques each night before going to bed.

4) I will track my feelings of anxiety in my journal daily.

I’m sure there are some non-morning people out there who think the world doesn’t even spin before 8 AM. It does. Pre-dawn hours are your friend, especially if you have a family. You have complete control of these hours. It’s quiet. No phones ringing. No notifications dinging. No kids tugging at your sleeve. Bonus: Watching the sun come up while sweatily driving home from the gym is BEAUTIFUL.

Set yourself up for success by adding some accountability factors. Share your goals with friends, family, or a professional. This will make for some external motivation to go along with your main driver of internal motivation. Other sources of accountability are online forums or apps. I’ve read about people who put money into makeshift escrow accounts. They vow that if they fail to hit their goals (I suggest process goals as opposed to outcome goals) they will send that money to a cause they hate. Extreme, but effective.

Be mindful of your thoughts throughout the process. What is your self talk when you get up in the morning for the gym? Is there a common excuse your sleepy mind uses more often than others? Is there a theme for the thoughts interrupting you meditation sessions? When you do have a spike in anxiety, what immediately preceded it? Was it a prompt? Are there any patterns forming you can pick up on?

Keep stacking wins and celebrating them. When you hit all of you process goals for the week reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, a self pat on the back in recognition of what you’ve accomplished over the past seven days is fine. Write down how you feel about it and take note of the momentum. If you want to treat yourself to something out of the ordinary, that’s fine too. Just be sure that you're not shooting yourself in the foot with a reward that doesn’t line up with your goals and may set you back.

As we mentioned above, this is a practice and it will evolve over time with adaptation and refinement. Some of the goals you set will be met and you’ll need to set another one. It’s possible some of the goals you set will not be met, and you’ll abandon them for good reason. It’s not unheard of. Maybe a big life change occurred and the goal you set is no longer a priority. Sometimes people’s values change and a goal no longer aligns. Pot committed or sunk costs are a fallacy. There are legitimate reasons to abandon a goal. That said, level with yourself if you go this route.

After a few weeks of consistency, your new schedule and activities will turn into a routine that aligns with the goals and priorities you’ve carved out and written down. Routine is good. Your mornings and evenings will be productive and calming. You’ll be book ending your days with positivity and stacking wins. The days will seem longer in the best way possible because you’ve allocated time for yourself, your work, and your loved ones. When things like vacation inevitably come around to throw a wrench in your routine, you won’t stress about it. You can go on vacation and enjoy yourself with no guilt. You’ll have a solid foundation from which to pick up as soon it’s over and the momentum right where you left off.

By creating plans, setting goals and adopting strategies leading to routines and ultimately healthy habits we cannot fail to achieve better health, wellness, happiness, and fulfillment. Along the way we learn the power of consistency and self awareness. We get 1% better every day compounding to massive impacts for our future selves. Make the decision the person you want to be would make, and you will eventually be that person.

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