Routine, not discipline

21f4c3b5591da245af90a2fd52fa1a55In typical Fat in the Head fashion, I started blogging well over a year ago full of hopes, dreams and aspirations about changing the world. And then… Well, you all know what happened next right?

Exactly: nothing.

My belief in the principles behind Fat in the Head are very strong. I think we are in desperate need of a kinder, more considerate and inclusive way to think about the human body, in particular our own. And I cannot stress enough how important it is to disconnect ‘weight’ and ‘happiness’ in our minds and in our culture.

Yet, if I feel so strongly about this, then why has my blog been dark for over a year? As I think about the answer to this question, I can’t help but think about the reason many diets fail: a lack of routine. Often mistakenly confused for a lack of discipline or willpower. (If you want to lose weight, then why don’t you?)

Only for boring people?

kcanmwjc54f78ee2a4b2e958333953Routine is a way to order your life. This goes here, that goes there. By limiting the need to think about it, you limit the need to apply conscious effort into making the right decision. Ergo, you limit the need for discipline or willpower.

For years, I thought that routine was for boring people. I feared that implementing routine in my life would make me boring by ruining any chance for spontaneity to occur and requiring me to say no to fun all the time. This attitude got me in quite some trouble throughout university, though never enough to make me want to change it. Instead, I would do a cost-benefit analysis when missing a deadline for a paper: half a point off my grade in exchange for all the episodes of Gossip Girl I binge-watched seemed like a bargain. And I was secretly quite proud of my ability to cramp a semester’s worth of study material in my head in a single weekend before exams.

If only I had started earlier…

02_05_sundayquotesBut that’s the rose-coloured version of reality. Not having a study routine in place also caused a lot of anxiety. Talent for remembering stuff and occasional moments of divine inspiration can only get you so far. I always feared that whatever I did was never going to be enough now, and it was always too late to do anything about it now. If only I had started earlier… (…I could go to the pub with my friends now / …I could wear a bikini at the beach now)

The good news? It’s never too late to forgive yourself for not having started earlier.When you make the success of your endeavours dependent on character traits such as discipline or willpower, the lack of success becomes about character as well. Cue the self-blame. Whereas, when it’s about routine, it could simply be something you have yet to figure out. Like where the silverware goes in your new kitchen.

Mental space

I now know from experience that routine actually frees up a lot of space in my life, practically as well as mentally. I swim on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, just so I don’t have to argue with myself about when to go swimming. (Well, not just, but that’s for another time)

I guess the time has come for me to apply the same principle to my blog. Stay tuned to see if I succeed…

 

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