In our fast-paced world, maintaining a routine often remains an unachieved New Year’s resolution due to the constant running to fulfill all the tasks of our work and private life. Paradoxically, we need to follow a routine to achieve both our short-term and long-term goals.
Let’s discover the significance of having a routine, learn to be persistent, and go through some helpful morning and bedtime routine ideas.
Why Having a Routine Matters?
Having a routine creates a sense of stability and gives our life a structure. This means a well-defined routine helps us manage our time more efficiently. When we have a schedule and set aside specific times for different activities, our efficiency rises.
A routine also encourages discipline since we have the whole day planned ahead and need to stick to that timetable. The way it cultivates self-discipline is by making us concentrate and finish our tasks on time, resulting in being more productive and more successful.
Another benefit of having a routine is that it helps in reducing stress. Even though things can pop out in the middle of the day, when we have a day planned ahead, it eliminates the uncertainty of a disorganized day and gives us a sense of control over the responsibilities.
It also has a direct effect on health and well-being because maintaining a routine fosters healthy habits like exercising, eating well, and having good sleep hygiene.
*Sleep hygiene means having a consistent sleeping schedule, that is, a specific bedtime and wake-up time which will regulate the body’s internal clock. Pro-tip is to keep up with that schedule even on the weekends.
How to Stick to a Routine?
Set Clear Goals
Begin by establishing specific and achievable goals. It is best to break down long-term goals into smaller, manageable tasks, allowing you to track progress and celebrate the achievements.
Start Small and Be Consistent
After setting a manageable routine, try staying consistent while gradually including additional activities to the schedule to avoid feeling overwhelmed at the beginning.
For example, if you’re only starting to work out and your goal is to work out three times a week, it could be overwhelming. In this case, a smaller, manageable task would be to start one time in the first and second week and, in week three, increase it to two workouts. Gradually implementing more workouts won’t be such a significant change, and you will have so many little achievements to celebrate on the path toward your final goal.
Hold Yourself Accountable
The key to sticking to the planned routine is accountability.
Use a planner, smartphone app, or journal to track progress and hold yourself accountable for following the daily schedule.
No matter which tracking option you prefer, the point is to have a visible goal and results that motivate you to continue.
Be Flexible but Committed
While this blog post is about the importance of having a routine, it’s also important to mention that it is entirely normal to sometimes be flexible and adjust when necessary. Life can be unpredictable, and tweaking the routines occasionally is necessary – sticking to them in the long run is important.
If a friend invites you to a surprise birthday party on the day meant for a workout, of course, you’ll go to that party. Just remember to schedule the workout for the next day and still achieve your planned goals (and remember to congratulate yourself on the achievement!).
How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit?
Many of us have heard the myth that it takes 21 days to form a habit, and research has shown that depending on the complexity of the habit, it takes about 66 days for a person to form a habit and that a specific behavior becomes automatic.
Morning Routine Ideas
Early mornings are a great way to be more productive. Getting up early allows you to have the whole day ahead to plan and finish your daily responsibilities. As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of water (add a freshly squeezed lemon for a kick of Vitamin C!). After 8 hours of sleeping, the body needs hydration, and drinking water first thing in the morning will help wake up the body and freshen you up to start the day.
Next, incorporate physical activity in the form of exercise or morning stretching. It will help energize both body and mind.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – a nutritious breakfast will give you the energy to start the day.
Meditation or mindfulness takes only five minutes daily, and sadly, most neglect it. Being present and mindful for a few minutes will set a positive tone, which will be carried throughout the day.
Journaling before turning on your phone is a great way to pour out your thoughts and emotions on paper, clear your mind, and boost creativity (you’ll be surprised how some great ideas appear when you start writing your thoughts down).
Lastly, plan the day. Determining the goals and responsibilities and organizing them on a to-do list by priorities will create a clearer idea of the time needed for each.
Night Routine Ideas
After finishing the day, it’s time to reward yourself with a relaxing evening routine.
Creating a bedtime ritual like reading a book, gentle stretching, or brewing a hot cup of tea is a great way to signal our body that it’s time to relax and wind down.
While it would be good to reduce screen time at any point of the day, studies suggest that we should reduce the exposure to blue light about two to three hours before bed. If that is not manageable for you, try implementing it at least an hour before bedtime since it has a disturbing impact on sleep.
If you have the time and a bath to soak yourself into, a weekly bubble bath could be a great way to reward yourself for completing your weekly tasks (or revive your Monday and being something to look forward to at the end of a long day). Even if you don’t have a bathtub at home, you can form a spa-like ritual around your evening shower (think scented candles, relaxing music, and massage oils).
Lastly, your sleeping environment must be comfortable. A comfortable mattress, pillows, bed linen, pajamas made of breathable fabrics, and a soothing ambiance with fresh air will increase the quality of sleep and the next day’s productivity.
In conclusion, incorporating and following routine into daily life can significantly impact overall well-being and positively impact productivity. With careful planning, determination, and consistency, new healthy habits will set the foundation for a less stressful and more successful life.