This is my new mantra: “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone”. In the last 12 months I moved into the condo I bought, then moved out of it to live with my partner, my office moved locations, and I had back surgery. Needless to say, my routine has gotten ROCKED.

Now that I feel physically, mentally and emotionally healthy again I am focusing on doing things outside of my comfort zone. I figure that there must have been some things in my past routine that weren’t serving me to have taken me down the path I was going, so now is a great time to start exploring things outside of my norm. Here are a few of the things I am trying these days:

    • New Foods: okay, this might seem a little hokey but I know there were plenty of foods out there that I didn’t eat regularly because I either didn’t like them as a kid or hadn’t tried them before so I figured… why start now? In revisiting my palette, I’ve found a new love for things that were once on my no-no list:
      • Beets (seriously, why did I never try these before? They taste like candy to me. I especially like the prepackaged ones in the produce section that come in flavors like sweet chili)
      • Cottage Cheese: this one was a texture thing for me, and let’s be honest: cottage cheese isn’t winning any prizes for its appearance either. Now that I am on the cottage cheese bandwagon I am thoroughly enjoying it with some fresh fruit on the side.
      • Dairy Milk: in moderation, of course. I had given up on most dairy products several years ago after a couple of years as a vegetarian and vegan. My body doesn’t process milk’s enzymes as easily as it did before unless I took a dairy digestive pill beforehand (and who remembers to do that a half hour before eating?).  Now I am starting to incorporate it back into baking, and even small bowls of cereal to get some of that good ol’ calcium that I just can’t get from the almond and cashew milk I’ve been substituting.
    • New Yoga Routing: I love doing the poses I am good at. Don’t we all? It’s motivating, and makes me feel accomplished. However, this isn’t doing me any favors in the strength or flexibility department. If I just stick to what I’m good at, I’ll never break routine and I’ll never improve in the areas that really need it. My body has changed dramatically in the last few months since surgery and there are certain poses that I used to be good at that are now a challenge for me so I am back to square one. I have to consciously remind myself of that when I start to get sidetracked with poses that are instagram-worthy. It’s the ugly duckling poses that need my focus now!
    • Embracing mornings: I was never a huge night-owl, but I have come to appreciate an early bedtime of 9:30pm. This affords me the most amount of relaxing sleep each night and has me reasonably early for work. That ALSO means I’m up between 6 and 6:30am on weekends to walk the dog, and I have been using that as the true start of my day even on those days ‘off’. I am exercising before it gets too hot, starting laundry before the washer/dryer get tied up by my neighbors, and am feeling more productive than ever for those reasons.
    • Ditching digital: Okay, well not entirely. You guys know I love social media, and it’s been a huge part of my connection to the people in my personal life, professional life, and my pursuit of a healthier self. HOWEVER, I relied a lot on apps on my phone and computer to guide me through the week and found that I was leaning on it as a crutch. Some of my newest non-digital habits include:
      • Bullet Journaling: I discovered this by watching a youtube video about it so it wasn’t an completely non-digital find, but this is a method of writing out your schedule, your goals, and a number of other key points in your life to increase productivity. I am picking up my phone less and crossing more things off of the to-do list that I had in my Google Notepad app than ever before.
      • Library Books: in a quest to curb my Amazon Prime addiction and also have something to read while planes are taking off and landing (since my laptop has to be stowed), I have started to move away from eBooks and back to the traditional books from a library. Not only am I saving money by getting books for free (and not feeling guilty about giving up on a book I really don’t enjoy), I have a great mile-long walk to the library in my neighborhood that keeps me active. I watch less TV because I have a book at the ready when the day starts to wind down, and am getting a brain boost.

These changes have had a profound impact on my health. We’re all friends here, right? I’ve tracked my weight on a website/app you may have seen me blog about before (SparkPeople – it was around before the MyFitnessPal craze) so I have my weight record for the last 12 months below (and I actually have the last eight years or so as well). I have had some incredible consistency lately and wanted to share the numbers. I’m feeling brave!:

Weight, Aug '16-Aug '17

Weight, Aug ’16-Aug ’17

I would love to hear about new things that are outside of your comfort zone or things that you’ve tried that have helped increase your productivity and healthy lifestyle pursuits!