Are Your Habits & Routines Working For You?

The other night on the way home from a long day at work, I realised (yes a smack over the head/lightbulb moment), that I had created a routine with a particular habit, that whilst it was completely good for me on one hand, on the other hand, it wasn’t and here’s why.

For years now, I’ve used ‘spare’ travelling time to make phone calls, and phone my parents, siblings and friends.

It’s a wonderful way to connect and stay in touch. Quick calls or long chats here and there. I love it.

However after a day of talking and connecting for work and then in my ‘spare time”, I was still connecting, talking and listening…. by the time I’d get home to wait for hubby and children, yes, who are fully wanting you present, listening and ready to talk to, I’d have no juice left in the tank for them.


And we all know how that ends up. Short fuse, disconnection and not good for anyone.

So the other night, rather than go onto autopilot and dial the phone, I switched into music mode instead.

Now, this technique may not work for those of you sitting with 100 others on the B-line or a train heading home, however, it was great in the car, after listening for a moment or two, I started singing along…..letting it rip actually.

In fact, if the truth is known, I was even singing “Let it go!” from Frozen to start with.

Then switched CD’s to Marina Prior; David Hodson, who now take up CD 3 spot instead of yet another kids CD hogging the space.

Am a huge fan of musical theatre and their combo work is sensational.

So singing, letting off hot air, endorphins racing around, oh wow, came home fully recharged, happy, it was like I’d had a shot of something….. and I had.

It was all natural.

We have all created routines from a combination of habits, over time, for different reasons.

All those habits ultimately fulfil certain needs, motivators and drivers within us for certainty, comfort, variety, challenge, connection, love and significance, a sense of feeling important and valued.

But what happens, when those habits and routines are good for us on one hand, yet not so great on the other…..?

That piece of chocolate that tastes so good, but ends up the entire family block.

The first glass of wine at 5 pm that ends up close to the bottle by the end of the evening.

The first bubbles at a networking event that ends up four or 5 by 8 pm.

Then the pizza at 8.30pm, because preparing meat and veg is way too much effort.

The sports bag in the car, but then no gym or yoga class because it’s been an exhausting day at work.

We have the best of intentions with some actions to start with…. yet somehow we let ourselves be led astray or go over the top or simply make poor decisions.

We all do different things for different reasons.

What are your reasons? And more importantly what do you believe is possible or not?

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you believe you need the bubbles to kick off a networking event?
  • Is it possible to come home and not have that post work beverage, save the wine for dinner?
  • Could you actually sit through the kid’s movie instead of getting distracted and scrolling through the phone?
  • Is it even possible to switch off the iPhone and put it away in a drawer or bag till the next morning?
  • Would having those healthy snacks in the handbag or backpack help you get through the day?
  • Could that regular yoga class help the body rather than the spasmodic random attendance?
  • Would asking a committed walking buddy help you get out of bed at 6am rather than skipping the morning exercise?

It’s really important to actually look very closely at the individual (sometimes tiny/little micro-habits) that we’ve formed over time.

Sometimes without awareness…. but actually mostly because laziness, comfort and ease take priority.

We humans don’t like to put ourselves out of our comfort zone very often 😉

Take a look at those habits that you’ve built up over time.

Are they an encouraging or discouraging routine for the good health, great relationships, a happy family, attracting a compatible life partner, having a successful career, or thriving business that you want or not?

I love the word moderation.

Am no saint, not a size 8, love food, love staying in bed, am addicted to white chocolate, however, I believe strongly in moderation and mix in the 80/20 theory.

If you can maintain the moderation for 80% of the time, then 20% of the time you can let your hair down.

However, it’s fair to say if we’re over the top with any habits above whether they’re physical, mental, emotional, financial, sexual, social,
spiritual etc, we can do damage… not only to our brain, bodies, it ripples out to those around us / relationships, professional and personal, the bank account, the lifestyle, environment, etc.

So what little habits can we change, not ALL the time, but some of the time, that helps us moderate and shift behaviours and outcomes…

Here are a few ‘little ones’ to think about:

* Taking the time for those morning warm fuzzies and conversations with team
* Listen and focus on the 10-minute detailed soccer debrief from the 9-year-old even though you’d rather not
* Pick up the phone and make a call rather than send off another email or impersonal message
* Walk around the sports oval during kids training rather than sitting in the grandstand or in the car on the iPhone.
* Ask another parent to join and ‘walk-n-talk’
* Do ‘walk-n-talk’ business meetings rather than a series of coffees throughout the day
* Get up 20 mins early and walk around the block or get on the stationary bike that’s rusting in the garage
* Listen to music instead of scrolling through Facebook
* Make & take the protein and salad to lunch rather than rushing out for the toastie, curry or skipping lunch altogether
* Commit to one water, one wine for the networking events
* Phone a friend and ask how their day was.. instead of wallowing in own self-pity about the dramas of your own day
* Buy the dark chocolate, not the white (Ok, so this one is definitely a work in progress. Many of you will know I LOVE my white Freddo frogs 😉
* Have a 2L bottle of water sitting on the desk and make sure it’s finished by the time you head home from work
* Make 5 – 7 mins a day to breathe and meditate, even start with 2, if it’s not your cuppa tea
* Keep a notebook with your to-do-list in your handbag or backpack or notes in the iPhone and get all the ‘stuff’ out of your head and somewhere practical to tick off
* Make date night a regular monthly activity rather than a spasmodic event
* Allow walking time to meetings, rather than jumping in the Uber or Taxi. It will help clear the brain and give you mental preparation time.
* Make your sports time a family affair so that everyone can have some fun and get fit too

The list could go on… feel free to add your ideas below.

Remember it’s not about making massive big changes, it’s about reflecting on small little habits that create the routines you have in your life, in all areas of life.

What are your routines around family, fun, friendships, work, health, hobbies?

What are the small habits that create the routines that are helping or hindering your progress, enjoyment and satisfaction?

If you’re loving your current routines and habits and they’re working for you. ROCK on. Keep at it.
If you’re not loving them…. then take a look, reflect and make some changes. Little tweaks and improvements.

Remember the little things make the biggest differences.

Genevieve “Moderation” Matthews xx





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