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A daily routine challenge: Will you accept?

Spring time is just over the horizon. If you’re a Floridian or other southern dweller, that might not be such a big deal for you. For folks in northern and Midwestern regions, however, it’s music to the ears! Thoughts of spring evoke images of sunshine, fresh air, gardens and outdoor fun. It’s also a time when many people feel a small flame of desire ignite in their hearts to get back in shape after a long, cold winter. Getting back in shape means different things to different people. This post is going to offer you a daily routine challenge. There’s a little bit of everything in it, for mind, body and soul.

Some people want to lose a few pounds. Others want to tone muscle. Maybe, for you, getting back in shape means being able to exercise and run again. (Especially if you’re suffering from long-term COVID injuries, you might be in this group!) Sometimes, the hardest part of self-improvement is simply getting started or coming up with a plan. By the end of this post, you’ll have a list of ideas that can help you start spring time off on the right foot!  You might not like all of the suggestions, but if you give them a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did!

Wake up earlier as part of your new daily routine

daily routine, clock with Roman numerals showing 5 o'clock

Out of all of the suggestions in this daily routine challenge, this is the one that is most likely going to make a few people cranky. Especially if you already consider the hour you wake up each day to be early, a challenge to wake up even earlier sounds a little cringe-worthy, right? There really wouldn’t be a point to waking up earlier if you don’t make good use of the time. That’s why I’m also suggesting that you use the extra time to take a brisk morning walk or spend time praying and writing in a journal. You might create a morning tradition of having a cup of tea or coffee on your porch (or deck or patio or stoop). However you decide to spend the time, spare a few of the minutes for exercise. You could even do some whole body stretches outdoors to get double the benefit. Some deep breathing would be great, too.

Improve daily routine by swapping out sugary drinks for lemon water

daily routine, ice water in mason jar with lemons

The ugly truth is that many food products, especially sodas and other junk food, is made to be addictive — intentionally. Studies show that addiction to processed sugar is similar to addiction to cocaine and other opioid drugs. According to Rutgers, Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies, the average American consumes more than three times the recommended daily amount of sugar. The effects of drug addiction are obviously quite different than the consequences of too much sugar in a person’s diet. However, both bad habits can wreak havoc on human health.

That’s why part of this daily routine challenge is to replace all soda and sugary drinks with lemon water. Lemons are so incredibly good for your health. If you just can’t stand the taste, you can either drink plain water or infuse your water with a fruit of your preference. I’m going to say something that soda and other sugary drink manufacturers won’t like. If everyone across the country would stop drinking these beverages and would replace the intake with lemon water, the results would be startling. There would not only be less sugar addiction, there would be less obesity, diabetes, acne and other adverse health conditions, as well.

Do deep work for at least one hour

daily routine, woman, long dark hair, sitting at desk, writing, water bottle in background

The next daily routine challenge on the list is to commit to one hour of deep work each day. Turn off your cell phone, and do not allow interruptions, unless there’s an urgent need. Prioritize your tasks, and give them your undivided attention, focus and effort, for one hour. If you complete one thing, move on to the next. The goal is to be as productive as possible for 60 minutes.

Spend time doing something you enjoy

man sitting on bench, reading, tall grass, body of water in background

How many times do you find yourself saying that your day was so busy, you never ate lunch or took a break? Understand this: No job in the world is so important that you shouldn’t take a break. There’s ample evidence from studies to show that people who regularly take breaks and rest and spend time doing things for enjoyment are far more productive than workaholics. If  you’re going to accept the daily routine challenge, you must agree to spend some time each day doing something  you enjoy. There’s no time limit. You can decide that for yourself. It doesn’t even have to be the same amount of time every day, as long as you do it. Whatever it is.

Perhaps you’ll work on a jigsaw puzzle or read a book. Maybe you’ll go for a run or spend time in nature. You can watch a movie, meet a friend, sing, play an instrument, do a craft, work on a project — anything, as long as it is something you enjoy. There’s value in hard work; it’s true. But, we’ve become enslaved to work in our society. Marriages have crumbled and families have fallen apart when work has been prioritized over relationships. In Proverbs 23, we read, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” Serious health problems can develop from too much work and not enough rest and recreation.

How long will your daily routine challenge last?

blues letters spelling out "let's get started!" white background, The Hot Mess Press logo

You might have noticed, as you were reading the list of daily routine challenges in this post, that there is no length of time mentioned for the overall commitment. The choice is yours. I would think that at least one week would be beneficial for starters. However, if you’re willing, you’d probably get a lot more out of it if you would commit to 30 days. Maybe you’ll choose a time that’s somewhere in between those two. Perhaps you’re thinking that you’re so exhausted and down in a rut that three days of this challenge would be tough. That’s okay. Give it three days, then.

Spend some time thinking about the goals you’d like to achieve. What do YOU think would be an appropriate amount of time for your challenge? You could always start out with a certain commitment, then extend it once you’ve accomplished your goal. You can also add other challenges to the list. Personalize your daily routine challenge to fit your needs, your lifestyle and your goals for self-improvement this spring.

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