To Re-Program Your Health, Start with Your Routine

by Jennifer Iannolo | Print This Page

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You are probably familiar with the saying “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” This delicious statement is full of the obvious — and it is also ripe with opportunity, because outside of your current patterns and results is…everything else.

Let me repeat that: Everything else!

This is my current line of inquiry because I’m up to some big things these days, so the “what I’m doing” is shifting significantly. To manage my fibromyalgia and autoimmune issues through the launch of 2 new ventures and several other projects is really going to take something, so I must approach this mindfully to create and sustain my physical, emotional and mental health. I can’t do it the way I’ve always done, which is full-throttle, 80 hours a week with no regard for consequences. That level of stress and burnout is why I have fibromyalgia to begin with!

Now, I don’t know how you approach the organization of your lifestyle, but I’m a planner. And because my fibro fog renders my memory unreliable at best, I live and die by my calendar; that means that all time and tasks must be accounted for. When I sat down with a friend to start formulating my strategy, the first thing he asked me to do was pull out that calendar. We looked at how my daily routine did and did not support what I was creating.

As I looked at things from the 40,000-foot view, I knew that my sleep and lifestyle patterns were the first things that needed to be adjusted. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with sleep issues, and chalked it up to Life Inside This Body. I don’t like the effect of medications, melatonin was a disaster, and I just can’t seem to convince my body that I do not live in Australia. Add that to the chronic pain and uber-fatigue, and it’s just a mess.

However. I also noticed that when I’m traveling, it’s not that difficult for me to go to bed at a decent hour, get up early in the morning, and move through a pretty intense week of meetings and events. Eureka! That indicates a lifestyle and discipline thing, not a Life Inside This Body thing. See, when I’m traveling, it’s game time; there’s no indulgence of moving a meeting or shifting things unless I’m completely ill with a migraine or can’t stand up. I get busy getting to sleep because I know I have to be up at 7AM and be ready to roll at 8:30. Pain and fatigue get put aside or forgotten about, and I get on with it.

So now it’s time for “game time” to be all the time, because for what I’m up to right now, nothing less will sustain that.

That’s requiring some very strict discipline right now, because my internal clock wants to sleep from 5AM to 12PM, so I am essentially forcing the routine upon it. Though it will take time, and it might take a few cranky days (or one like today, where I’m nodding off writing this), I know that the exercise of the discipline is mostly mental.

And I’ve said this countless times on Zenfully Delicious, but it bears repeating: When it comes to fibromyalgia, or any other chronic condition, the management of it is also mostly mental. Your body is going to do what it’s going to do. The real question is: Who and how are you going to be about that?

I know that I have at least 6 months of “boot camp” ahead of me, and I’m committed to creating posts about it here, because my goal is to be an example of having it all WITH the fibromyalgia along for the ride.

And I don’t mean boot camp in the modern sense of heavy lifting, kick-my-own-ass, OOH-RAH do-or-die workouts. I mean it in the sense that to train myself to operate at a level that supports my traveling and changing the world (and yes, I’ll get to talking about all of that), it’s going to take an intense re-programming of the way I do things now.

It means no excuses.

So how about you? I’m in this for a pretty long haul, and it would be great to have some company, wherever you are along the path. I think we’re all going to discover some fascinating things along the way. Will you join me? If so, take a look at the critical questions below. I do encourage you to share in the comments so we can create a dialogue. The sharing on this site has been so incredible because of you, and without these discussions we can’t dis-assemble all the negativity and hopelessness around these frustrating conditions that can really sneak up on us if we’re not taking care of ourselves.

Step 1: Your Routine

If you really are interested in making some changes, start by taking a look at your routine, and what pieces of your lifestyle do or do not support your health goals. I always find it easiest to work from the big idea backwards, so I start with two very simple questions:

What are you committed to?
What’s it going to take?

Please share below, and let’s get this thing started!

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