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Episode 32: Getting Back on Track

Good morning, everybody! Welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast, which is gonna be all about onramps. And by onramps, what I really mean is the time, the procedure, I guess, of getting back into a routine after you have been off that routine because of travel or sickness or stress or whatever.

So, I’m gonna tell you what I normally see people do and what my instinct is to do as well, and I’m obviously gonna tell a little story.

So, in August of this year, I was traveling to a family reunion. I was at the family reunion, and when I was there, I caught a nasty cold. And so, I got back, and for the next three or four days I was pretty much just laying in my bed doing nothing but recovering from this cold. After that, I remember distinctly, in my perfectionistic brain, having this moment where I was like, “Okay, on Sunday, I’m gonna reset, and I’m gonna be completely back on track.”

So, on Sunday, I was expecting myself to clean my whole house, go to the gym for the first time in a week and a half, prep all of my food for the week, get back in the swing of things with work. I was expecting myself to go from completely in sick mode to completely in normal-routine mode with no onramp, and that is sort of like turning from a completely stand-still driveway onto a highway. It’s impossible, and it’s not going to work, and that is why when you’re going onto the highway you have an onramp. You have a little space where you escalate faster and faster and faster until you get up to speed with the rest of the cars on the highway. And so, that is what I really recommend that you do whenever you get off your routine for some reason.

So, to tell another story, this past week I was at our team retreat, and then before that I had caught a little bit of a cold. So I was sick for four days, and then I was gone for another three days, and when I got back, I knew immediately because of my experience in August, because I had compassionately reviewed and learned from that experience, I knew immediately, “Hey, I’m at risk of this perfectionistic routine jumping-into-things type of thing,” which, by the way, I didn’t mention, did not work last time. Essentially, a week and a half to two weeks later I finally got back into my routine, but it was really not a situation I loved for myself. So, it’s a situation I didn’t want to repeat.

So, this time, I said, “Hey, I know last time I was perfectionistic. I know last time I made this huge plan. I didn’t give myself an onramp. And so, this time, I’m gonna try something different.” So, I got home on Sunday, and I gave myself time to take a nap, and then I pulled out my white board, and I wrote the words “onramp” on the top of it, and I started really thinking about what the “highway” looks like. So for me, that’s exercising 30 minutes a day, particularly going to the gym several times per week. So I wanted to get back into my gym routine. Right now I am tracking my macros, so hitting my protein, fiber, and macro targets, that was important to me. Having a clean and tidy house, that’s an important part of my routine. And getting back into my daily schedule with work and my content creation schedule and things like that.

So, that’s the highway, right? And I knew where I was. I was not tracking at all. I had done really, really light walking and yoga as my exercise. I hadn’t gone to the gym, and we had been working all weekend as part of the retreat, but it was really more discussion-based work, so it was gonna take a minute to get myself from where I was all the way back into that workout routine.

And so, I started to look at what the breakdown would be, what the stages would be. So, between where I was now — let’s say for workouts, where I was now was I was literally walking for 30 minutes everyday. Where I wanted to be was a couple times a week doing a full gym workout. I knew that one of the steps I could take that would be in between those two things is to just get some strength training done at my own house. I knew that because I had been traveling I wasn’t gonna want to leave the house for a day or two, but if I could get into strength training, if I could do a strength workout, that would probably make going to the gym and being back in that full strength lifting heavy, that would make lifting heavy feel a lot easier.

So, that’s what I decided. Same thing with tracking my food. I decided I wasn’t tracking it all right now. I wanted to be tracking and hitting targets, and so, the first day I said, “Tomorrow, I’ll just track. The next day I will work on tracking and hitting my protein goal, and then the following day after that I will track and hit my protein and fiber goals.”

So, these are just a couple examples, but basically, I laid out, “These are my goals for Sunday, these are my goals for Monday, these are my goals for Tuesday,” and I gave myself a three-day onramp, and it is Tuesday, and today I feel much closer to being back on track. I have kind of been in a little bit of a funk today, but obviously, I’m working, I’m getting things done. I’m back on my content creation schedule. I did hit that protein goal yesterday. I did my workout yesterday. I haven’t done it today yet. In general, I’m much closer to being back in the swing of things and back in my routine because I didn’t try to jump from 0 into a 60-mile-per-hour zone. I didn’t try to jump from where I was into my perfectionistic routine fantasy. Instead I gave myself that onramp.

So, think about that next time you travel or you’re sick, and as always, if you need a little bit of help with this, this is the perfect season. We have a lot of travel coming up. We have a lot of holidays coming up, and we have winter coming up, which for a lot of people means more sickness. And so, if you are the type of person that struggles to navigate these changes in routine, and if you kind of feel like if you’re writing off the next ten weeks of the year in your head like, “Oh, well, I’m gonna get so off my routine it doesn’t matter,” that’s a sign that now is probably a great time to get a coach, to get someone on your side who can help you because the moments of challenge like the holidays, those are amazing opportunities for us to learn. Those are perfect opportunities for you to have the support, the scaffolding of a coach to guide you through and to make sure that, as much as possible, you can stick to and get back to that routine that makes you feel like your best, most authentic self.

So, hopefully that gave you some thoughts and things to think about, and I’ll see you in the next episode!

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.

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