How to create intentional routines in your life in 6 steps
May 3, 2019
“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin
Are you craving a little more stability and ease in your life? I know I’m always looking for ways to make my days run more smoothly, and I’ve found that sticking to a daily routine has created space for this in my life. I previously explained how waking up at 5am allows you to prepare mentally and physically for the day.
In this post, I’m sharing a step-by-step plan to help you map out an ideal daily routine that encourages you to be intentional with your time.
WHY YOUR ROUTINE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Once upon a time, I completely resisted the idea of routine. I thought that routines were boring, mundane, and rigid – three things I am not a fan of. I also had this firm belief that I couldn’t stick to routines because I could never get the motivation to follow through with my plan.
Fast forward to now, routine has given me stability in my life, helped me become more productive, take better care of myself, and create boundaries that prevent me from living on autopilot. Routine has also helped me to be more consistent – something I seriously struggle with.
When I do the habits and activities that make up my bigger routine, I feel a lot more stable in my life. Having a routine means I know which order to do things in and this reduces the number of decisions I have to make – which is especially important in the morning when I’m low on time.
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO ROUTINE?
Of course, there are routines that we fall into because of habit. Coming home from work and vegging out on the couch becomes a routine if you do it every day. This isn’t necessarily the best use of your time if it’s all you’re doing in the evening (but here’s what you can do instead).
While some argue that routine stunts our personal growth, I believe that an intentionally curated routine can bring us greater clarity, direction, and fulfillment in our lives. If we make a conscious effort to add activities into our routines that nourish our minds, bodies, and souls, we are less likely to get burnt out, bored, or stuck in negative patterns.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR IDEAL ROUTINE
STEP ONE: CHOOSE THE ROUTINE TYPE
First, decide which type of routine you’re trying to create in your life. Is it morning, night, afternoon, etc.? Most people gravitate towards a morning routine because mornings can feel like such a struggle, but a night routine is also beneficial if you want to stop staying up too late.
STEP TWO: FIND YOUR MOTIVE
Think about why starting a routine is important to you. What’s your motive? Why are you trying to create a routine? Is it because everyone else says how important it is? Or maybe you want to stop rushing out the door in the morning or stop staying up so late. Get clear on your reason for starting a routine because this will give you more motivation to make it happen.
STEP THREE: EDIT YOUR CURRENT ROUTINE
Think about your current routine and what you do on a daily basis. Is there anything that you could spend less time doing or remove completely? Maybe you want to stop snoozing your alarm or spend less time watching Netflix. You should also take into consideration the things you need to do daily, regardless of whether you like doing them or not. Maybe that’s eating breakfast before you leave for work, choosing what to wear, or packing your bag,
STEP FOUR: ADD SOME GOODNESS
Think about what you’d love to add to your current routine. Is it exercise in the morning? Making a smoothie? Reading before bed? Make a list of 8-10 things you’d LOVE to add. Then narrow that list to 3-5 things (because we gotta be realistic here, my friend).
Ideas for Your Routine:
- Writing your to-do list
- Eating breakfast or dinner
- Taking a shower or bath
- Working out or taking a walk
- Listening to a podcast
- Taking the dog for a walk
STEP FIVE: MAP IT OUT
Write down what your ideal routine looks like with the things you need to do and the things you want to do. From there, put things into an order that makes sense. Think about how much time you’d like to dedicate to each activity or habit – and also keep in mind the amount of time you have to make it all happen. Consider if you’re trying to get to bed by 10 pm and you have a list of 5 things to do, how much time can you realistically spend on them? Try not to overcommit yourself because this will only make it harder to complete your routine.
STEP SIX: MAKE IT HAPPEN!
You’ve got it all planned out, so now it’s time to try it out. I’d recommend writing down your new routine and keeping it in an obvious spot where you’ll see it and be reminded of your intention (I forget 99% of things unless they’re written down in front of my face). Try out your brand new routine and see how it flows. Remember you can always come back and make tweaks. Don’t give up right away if it’s not sticking – you’ve got this
By Yaseen Amod of Ideasvoice SA