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5 Steps To Building Routines In Your Life

Following a daily schedule can help you build routines, establish priorities, limit procrastination, reach your goals, and be healthier. Routines lower your reliance on willpower and motivation, which means - less thinking and more doing!


You need to be strict with yourself for the first few weeks. The funny thing about our brains is that they'll cling to the familiar even if it isn't in our best interest. So if you need help to get started on anything or a list of morning routine ideas for inspiration, I got you.


Building new routines and habits takes time and effort, but once you've established them, life becomes much easier.

Multiple black and white clock faces

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Routine vs. Habit

The solution to most things is gathering information. So let's start with the difference between a habit and a routine.

  • Habit

A habit is more of an impulsive action with little or no conscious thought. You kinda just do something without thinking about it. For example, you don't think about biting your nails, but when you catch yourself, you're chewing on your fingers.

  • Routine

A routine is a repeated action by consciously thinking about acting. It requires a higher degree of intention and effort. For example, when you start a new morning routine, you need to think about your next action - wake up, make coffee, stretch, wash your face, journal, read, say your affirmations, etc.


If you do a routine long and consistently enough, it becomes a habit.

 

5 Steps To Building Routines In Your Life

 

1. Identify your Routines

To build (new) routines, you need to identify your existing routines.

Grab a pen and paper and start writing.

  • Jot down the things you do daily. There is no need to think too hard about it; write what you do.

  • Then do the same for things you do weekly, monthly, and yearly.

This might take a while. It's not as easy as it seems to jot down what you do routinely. Don't stress; write down what you remember; you can always add more to the list later.

  • Look at your lists and mark which ones are GOOD and which are BAD (use different colors if you have to).

Yeesh, it's not always nice to look at. Bear in mind that good and bad are subjective to your life, for the most part. If it fits your lifestyle to get up and go to bed late vs. get up and go to bed early, so be it.

This is about your routines and how you can improve your productivity.

  • Now, write down routines you'd LIKE to have.

You will focus on keeping your good routines and incorporating the ones you'd like to have in your life. You'll actively focus on swapping the bad routines with the good ones, and I'll show you how.

 

2. Be Detailed

Every evening, take 30 minutes, grab a notebook, and get ready to schedule your next day. You can find some excellent to-do list notepads online. Alternatively, open a calendar app for the next day.

  • Set out your day by the hour.

And I mean schedule EVERY hour. Be detailed, be realistic, and even schedule time for fun.

This is called timeboxing, and I can show you how to timebox in 5 easy steps. The primary purpose is that you're giving every minute a priority and a job. Seeing your tasks per hour every day will show you how productive you can be.

  • Pick ONE new routine you'd like to have and schedule that ONE new routine. It can be as simple as "meditate for 15 minutes."

Don't add five new routines; that's unrealistic. Start with one. Just ONE.


Bonus - Be consistent with the time

Having structure around your routines takes the thinking out of it and makes it easier to complete them consistently.

  • Try scheduling the same task at the same time every day for a week and see how it goes.

If we continue with the example above, schedule your 15 minutes of meditation for 7 am every morning. After you've washed your face and done some stretching, sit down for 15 minutes and meditate.


Doing something at the same (hour) a few times becomes a regular part of your day. That's what you want, minimal thinking, just doing.

 

3. Have some Flexibility

Life happens. You can be the scheduling queen, and something can still come along and disrupt your beautiful routine. Solution? Keep some flexible free time in your routine.


For instance, you overslept, and now you don't have time for your 15 minutes of meditating. Or you might have last-minute dinner plans when you set out to do the laundry.


That's okay, don't stop living life or being spontaneous because it's not in your schedule. Therefore having free time for unexpected events will bring you peace of mind.


Didn't have time to meditate? You have 10 minutes free before your next meeting - do it then. You're going for dinner, and the laundry won't be done? Do a load while you're in the shower when you get home.


Be flexible and solution-orientated; if all else fails, tomorrow is another day; get back on track.

 

4. Be Consistent - Keep Testing

Set yourself a realistic timeframe to test your new routines. It's silly to expect you'll get everything right the first time, but you cannot try it once and say it's not working.


Remember, you're working towards building habits. You need to follow a routine for more than a month for it to become a habit, sometimes longer. Yikes.


Do. Not. Give. Up. Everything is hard before it's easy. Living your life willy-nilly without structure, routines, and goals is much more exhausting than putting in the hard work now for it to become easier later.


I'm not saying to stick with a routine that's not working. You can make adjustments or try something different as long as you keep trying.

 

5. Add More and Build Gradually

You've been doing it for a few weeks. You've scheduled and completed your new meditation routine four times a week, and you're smashing it! You've got it under control. Fantastic!


Go back to your list in Step 1 and pick another new routine you'd like to bring to life.

Follow the same steps. Add to your schedule, choose a time, and have some flexibility, but be consistent!


You're changing your life.

 

The Bottom Line

You might not get this right on the first try, and that's okay. Keep trying. And try again. Don't be afraid to try new routines - if they leave you feeling energized and inspired, keep doing them…if they don't, keep trying new ones. Be patient with yourself; building routines and habits come with making small changes consistently. I believe in you; you got this!

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