American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition

 

Finding a rhythm

I have been trying to increase my workouts, post more to this blog and make worksheets available for all of you, and getting frustrated because I just couldn’t get it all in during the day. Usually adding a new task to an established routine is a good way to get it done without too much thought, but it just wasn’t working. Ugh. Too much hard to get the good.

While talking about this to my man friend, he pointed out to me, plain as day, that I needed to get into my rhythm. Duh. And as irritating as this obvious advice was, it was more irritating because I knew it but wasn’t getting it. And irritating because he was right. Then bing! I was using the wrong word, wrong image. A rhythm is much better than a routine.

Rhythm is fun, musical, get-your-groove-on moving forward. A routine is steady, boring, old. Now if you are one of those people who LOVE a routine, who find it quick and easy and love the sameness of getting things done: Go For It. You are stronger than I.

But if you are like me, and the thought of a routine makes you feel tired, then maybe finding a rhythm will make you move. And the best way to get your groove on? Find your soundtrack. My Mom used to play Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night (on reel-to-reel no less) every Saturday when we cleaned the house. To this day I can not listen to Sweet Caroline without having the urge to pick up a dust rag and get going.

You can do the same thing when you just can’t get motivated to clean and prep your vegetables when you get home from the grocery store. Put on whatever floats your boat, and make it a habit. Then when you hear your soundtrack, you just naturally get going. Lately the soundtracks to Mama Mia and Glee’s Madonna episode have helped me prep many a salad, and even get out the door for a good walk.

The neural pathways in our brain linking an activity with pleasure become stronger, faster, when they are associated with music. Just like memories are often triggered by hearing a song on the radio. Activities can become automatic and easy when we hear the right tunes.

Cooking a quick meal can be fun with the right music, and so can anything else you need to do but are resisting. I think activating the part of our brain that processes music quiets the part of our brain that tries to talk us out of new habits. We can only process so much at one time, and the music is much more fun.

So now that I have my soundtrack, those changes I’ve been wanting to make are actually happening, and I am on my way to finding my rhythm.

Leave a comment and let us know: What’s your soundtrack for the summer? We can all use a little inspiration.

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