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This morning, like millions of other people, I woke up, got dressed, had breakfast, and went to work. Yet for me this was a somewhat revolutionary experience. You see, for the past several decades, everys single workday the very first thing I had to think of when the alarm went off was “must…walk…dog”.
What’s more, for the past five months, I had to not only walk and feed the dog, I had to get him to the dog daycare place, which was a little more than a mile walk each way. That added a lot of exercise and about an extra 45-60 minutes to every morning routine. It also meant a lot of stress. My goal was always to drop the dog off the second they opened at 7 a.m. and then rush home to finish my morning routine. Most days I wore my running shoes and did my best to do the whole thing at a running pace. But of course the puppy had his own mind, and it was seldom –if ever– a straightforward walk. Needless to say, I was late for work pretty much every single day.
Now that there is no longer a dog in my home, life is going to look a little different. Since I often wake up super early to go running, I no longer have to wait for that magical 7 a.m. to roll around. I can just do my own thing at my own pace. It’s weird to think that the only responsibility I have is to myself.
Today I got to work a half-hour early.
Routines are what make our lives work. If we always had to think about every little detail of every little action we take, we would soon go crazy. And nothing would get done. There’s some good behavioral research about this that says developing simple, small, easy rituals is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Although my morning routine will no longer include a daily two-mile walk/run at 7 a.m., I’m confident that the reduction in stress and annoyance will allow me to cut back my eating by the same amount of energy that I would have gained from the walk. I’m still running 5 days a week and I still live in an environment where I’m on my feet walking all of the time.
And who knows, maybe I’ll start going for a walk on my lunch hour, now that I’m getting in so early…