Just Because Our Routines Are Off Doesn’t Mean We Have to Be

As human beings, we are creatures of habit. Many of us prefer having set routines so that we can plan ahead and know what to expect… especially us Type As!

My busy clients are planners, so they most definitely like sticking to a schedule! They like being able to prep their own food, take their usual classes at the gym, and do their strength workouts on specific days of the week… at the same time… maybe even in the same spot of the weight room with their favorite kettlebell. 😉

I totally get it. Our routines help keep us “on track” when it comes to our health and fitness, and once something becomes routine, it certainly feels more automated and effortless.

But what happens when something happens that throws us right out of our regular routine?

Things like:

  • Getting injured
  • Getting sick
  • Your kids getting sick
  • Traveling for work
  • A snow day
  • A birthday party
  • Going on vacation
  • Being away for the weekend
  • Having to stay late at work for meetings or business dinners
  • Having friends in town
  • Your group fitness class gets cancelled
  • A weekend full of graduation parties, sporting events, and dance recitals
  • Going out to eat
  • Attending summer BBQs
  • Your favorite kettlebell being used by someone else (kidding!)

Kettlebell aside, when these things come up, it can feel like a HUGE wrench has been thrown into our perfect plans, right? We can’t do our usual workouts, we can’t eat our usual foods, and basically what it comes down to is that we can’t do things OUR WAY.

But just because our routines might be off doesn’t mean that we also have to be! 

Of course when our routines are off, we might have to get our workouts done a little differently. We might not have access to our usual equipment. It might be easier to sleep in than to wake up to get our sweat on at our usual time. We might not have time for a full 45-60 minutes.

We also are not always going to be in control of the food that’s around us. Depending on where we are, there may be less veggies and high quality proteins to choose from. We might find ourselves amongst more indulgent options than usual, and there may be more social pressure to order more alcoholic beverages than we would if we were at home.

So yes, when our routines are off, we might be thrown a little bit. I get that. But allowing these minor circumstances to throw us COMPLETELY off the rails?

That’s the part that is always a CHOICE. 

When my clients come to me saying they CAN’T do something because their regular routines are off or there’s a blip in the plan, I always encourage them to ask themselves one simple question:

“What CAN I do?”

Because truly there is always something that we CAN do, right?

Or let me put it this way: after being out of your routine for 10 days, is it easier to return to your norm if over those 10 days you did absolutely nothing? OR is it easier to return and regain momentum if you did one tiny something on each of those 10 days? Which sets you back more? Which is less jarring? Which gets you back in the game a lot faster? Zero things? Or a bunch of small somethings?

Choosing action always does, 100% of the time, no matter how not good enough you feel that action is. 

Here are some of my go to ways for choosing action and staying on track even when my routine goes right out the window:

  • I CAN always drink water and stay hydrated by carrying my water bottle with me everywhere.
  • I CAN usually pack healthy snacks of my own, just in case.
  • I CAN always look at a menu ahead of time so I go into it feeling prepared.
  • I CAN always focus on #GoPROeats (protein and produce) and prioritize them as much as possible. Even if it’s not perfect, I CAN do my best with the options I have.
  • I CAN always order differently than others instead of not wanting to rock the boat.
  • I CAN always ask a friend or co-workers to meet up 30 minutes later for dinner if it means being able to sneak in a quick workout. Or I can always wake up early to get my workout in if nighttime is not an option.
  • I CAN always do a workout because I can literally work out ANYWHERE. And I know that a workout doesn’t have to be 45-60 minutes in order to count. In fact, my 5-20 minute Fit On the Go workouts that use my bodyweight and/or travel friendly equipment are some of my faves to pull out during weeks when I’m out of routine. Just last week I was staying at a friends house, woke up, and did sprints up and down her street! Below is a picture of a wedding weekend last year where I rolled out of bed and did 10 pushups, 10 situps, 10 squats 5 times with no bra or s on. No gym, no problem!

I CAN always just do the damn best I can no matter what circumstance I’m in, not beat myself up about it, and make the choice to pick myself up the next day and move right along!

We all can, and it’s about time we all stop self-sabotaging if we don’t think our workouts or food choices will be good enough.

Choosing action, no matter how small, is what’s good enough and what will keep us consistent for long term success. And to me, long term success is when we feel our health and fitness has become a sustainable lifestyle: one that can be maintained no matter where in the world we are, no matter what we have going on in our lives, and no matter how “off” we feel our schedule is.

Oh, and that perfectionism? THAT is actually the very thing that’s causing you to go off the rails, not your routine being off. The all or nothing approach always ends up being NOTHING!

Readers, let’s chat! Do you struggle with being off your routine? What are some ways you choose action over nothing? What CAN you do to stick with your health and fitness goals when things don’t go as planned? 


If this post resonated with you, then I invite you to sign up for my upcoming No Gym No Problem fitness challenge! This challenge is designed to take your workouts OUT of the sweaty gym so you can enjoy every minute of summer without sacrificing your fitness… because we all know there are going to be those days you just need something quick or outside in order for your workout to get done!

Each of the challenge workouts are designed to be completed in places that aren’t the gym and/or use non-traditional equipment, and they range from 5 minute power-ups to 20 minute metabolic conditioning circuits.

Join the challenge here!