Another Small Benefit To Having A Routine

I've surely written before about the many benefits of having a consistent, daily routine. If I had to sum up all the benefits concisely, I'd put it this way: A daily routine helps to "automate" certain thought processes, which allows you to get things done without necessarily having to dedicate space for them in your thoughts.

Having to remember to take your medication, for example, is wasted mental effort if you can replace the "need to remember" with the muscle memory of taking your medicine as part of your daily breakfast. You don't have to "remember" how to make a bowl of cereal; so if taking your medicine is something you do right before you pour cereal into your bowl, then it just becomes part of the "cereal process" (no pun intended) and you don't have to think a separate set of thoughts about "I have to take my medicine."

Over time, I've "automated" my daily water consumption in a very similar way. Each morning, I make myself a cup of green tea to have with my breakfast. After I eat, as a final "breakfast step," I drink a large glass of water while I take my supplements (milk thistle, nicotinamide riboside, glucosamine, CoQ10, and a daily multivitamin). Within the hour, I prepare a cup of chamomile tea to drink while I work. At the same time every morning, I have a work meeting, and right before my work meeting, I either fill up a bottle of water to drink during the meeting, or I open a bottle of Topo Chico mineral water. By 10 or 10:30 AM, I remind myself that my midday workout is coming up, so I have another glass of water. With that, I've typically had 40-80 ounces of fluid before noon.

My post-workout routine also usually involves another 32 ounces of water, followed by two 12-ounce glasses of water at lunch. By the early afternoon, I have typically had twelve or more glasses of water. That makes sense for a guy who works out a lot and who eats plenty of electrolyte-rich foods. In fact, some days, I could stand to drink a bit more.

But the point is, all of this hydrating is built into my normal daily routine, so that I can get all the fluid I need without having to think much about it. The only time I really consciously think about hydrating is when I remember to drink a glass of water before my workout. All the rest of it is thoughtless habit.

There is a downside to this. Life isn't perfect, nor is it entirely consistent from day-to-day. So, by building something important like hydration into my daily routine, it means that if my routine is ever disrupted, even for simple reasons like a doctor's appointment or a one-off business meeting, my hydration suffers for it. Not only does that make it a greater challenge to stay hydrated during inevitable disruptions, it also makes the common irregularities of life, like a rescheduled meeting, more of an annoyance than they need to be.

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