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The Power of Routines

shutterstock_219483943I often talk to clients about the benefits of routines to help them in their performances for sporting events, presentations, job interviews and more. These are all situations where people want to have buckets full of confidence so they can shine, all the while keeping any nervousness effectively managed.

Whenever you go into a ‘performance arena’ where you want to be at your best, some nerves will likely be present. It is natural to experience some nervousness because you are in a different situation than your day-to-day routine. Even if you have competed in your sport many times before, even if you have delivered great presentations or aced those job interviews, there still may be an element of nervousness.

If you think about your regular routine for when you start your day versus when you do something different. Many of us go on auto-pilot and do what we need to do without much thought in our regular daily routine. Yet, when our routines are different and we have to go somewhere different or do something different, we might experience some stress. How well did you sleep before you went away on holidays versus on a regular work day?

In a certain sense, regular routines and habits leads to familiarity. Familiarity leads to less stress. Less stress leads to better performances. So, when it comes to any big ‘performance event’, by developing some sort of familiar routine, having some familiar habits, will help you be at your best.

In addition to having routines for a specific performance event, having routines in life is also a good thing. Even though some people see ‘routine’ as meaning ‘boring’, having some sort of routine, as in a structure and focus, helps you to also be at your best. Well, when you decide to change almost everything in your life like I’ve recently done, there is nothing familiar in my routine nor in my surroundings. OK, so I have work commitments to do which I am familiar with. I still exercise and have found that I am running more and swimming less. Yet almost everything else in my life routine is new! Challenging, most definitely; exciting, most certainly!

It is quite an interesting experience to start a new ‘life routine’ in a new country and my approach has been quite gentle and easy. Rather than diving straight in with doing everything I want to be doing all at once, I am going slowly. I am adding one new habit at a time until I feel comfortable with having it in my routine before adding another new habit. Introducing these new habits into my new routine slowly means they will likely stick.

This makes me think about when people want to lose weight. They could go on a crash diet to see results quickly yet often put it back on afterwards. Alternatively, they could take things more slowly which means they change their attitude, approach and habits surrounding food and exercise meaning they will more likely maintain the new weight. It comes down to the mindset of either a quick-fix or developing new habits to make them stick.

Right now, my mindset is about new habits that I want to stick so am taking it slowly, slowly, gently, gently. Every little step is a step in the direction of where I want to go! This week, I actually have felt like I have become more comfortable with my new habits and my new routines! This in turn has certainly taken an edge of those stress levels.

Thinking of your routines and your habits, how do they help you be at your best? Are there any changes you might make to help you even more? When you think specifically of performance situations, what routines and habits help you to have a sense of familiarity? What could help you to lower those nerves and stress levels so you are at your best?

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