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  • mariasylvesterterr

getting back on track | a non-diet way

what happens when it doesn't all happen?




weddings. festivals. travel. work events. unexpected plans. another round of pollen bombs setting off your household equilibrium. it doesn't take much to throw off your routine, right?


and, maybe that's the most joyful part of routine: the clarity and comfort of going back to it after time apart.


something we tend to struggle with is confidence outside the routine. it makes sense: of course we develop confidence within a system of habits more than outside of it.


i found myself at this very crossroads this past weekend while traveling for a wedding. a big pot of coffee awaited me on Saturday morning when i walked into my cousin's kitchen.


it felt unnatural to reach for a mug and start what i knew would be chain-drinking coffee with her until the pot was empty. an old habit i had for years! i have spent a long time building a water + breakfast before coffee routine, and that feels really good to me.


so, what would happen if i... ditched it? for a day, a weekend, or a week?


what would happen if your routine didn't happen?


maybe this is an unpopular opinion: i think it's worth finding out what happens when you go off your routine!


you'll learn 3 things:


1. nothing wild happens when you go off your routine. it may be uncomfortable, but it's not something to stress about. even if it feels a little dangerous in your head, it's good for us to get a break from routine!


2. you'll make observations. in my client work, i call this collecting neutral data. for example...

  • "okay, my stomach hurts. i forgot this doesn't feel good."

  • "interesting - my poop schedule is totally off. i bet it's because i haven't eaten my usual foods."

  • "ahhhh, feeling the anxious jitters from the extra caffeine. i'm going to need some food soon."

  • "this was a nice change, but i will probably adjust differently tomorrow."

3. going back to your routine is a thoughtful choice, not a ctrl-alt-delete reset. it's essential to not guilt and shame your way back into your routine. this starts to feel a bit like Diet Starts Monday, doesn't it?


if you're thinking, Ri -- what planet are you on? my routine is SO hard to get back to!, i want you to ask yourself two questions: what are your expectations for yourself? can you be flexible and compassionate?


because the truth is: you don't have to do it all tomorrow. you don't have to make it all happen.


you can give a 100% effort to 40% of your routine, and that is a great start.


you can plan for one workout instead of five.

you can pack an easy protein with a bagged salad instead of meal prepping lunch for the week.

you can aim for 60 ounces of water instead of 90.

you can take a 15 minute walk instead of your usual 30 minute loop.


in other words, take it one thing at a time instead of all the things at once.


so, what happened with my coffee pot situation? i wondered for a moment, and then i asked myself - what's my priority?



this weekend, my priority was quality time with my cousin and then having an awesome time at my friend's wedding. so, here's what i did:


i made a 50% effort into my routine with a cup of water before coffee, and then... i cozied up on the couch and finished up the pot of coffee with my cousin 🙃


to be honest, i did a pretty shit job of hydrating all weekend, and i am catching up today. i'll be sure to prioritize hydration tomorrow and be patient with myself if i feel a little sluggish. flexible and compassionate.


so, what happens when it doesn't all happen? not much if you're willing to be flexible and compassionate with yourself. let me know how it goes this week ♥️.

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