Organised October: Week One - Developing a Daily Routine

Free Personal Development — Implement an Easy Healthy Routine

 Developing a routine can take time, time to make it constant and time to make it automatic. It can take time to develop but a small disruption can sometimes be enough to throw you out of your routine. This is why you need to develop a routine that is right for you and fits with your life. A routine should be adaptable, changeable and evolve along with you and your activities and interests. 

 Why is a routine so important?

A routine keeps you focused and on track, keeping you from getting lost in the long list of commitments, tasks and activities. A routine is effectively a set of habits, where the cumulative purpose of habits creates a routine. Aristotle, a greek philosopher describes habits as acquired dispositions that improve the agents performance, making him or her more successful in the quest to achieve their goal. We all have our own goals we want to achieve, which is why developing a routine is so important. Developing a routine helps create a sense of manageability in life, helping people to cope with a multitude of experiences, including; change, stress and mental health in a positive way. Research has found that poor daily habits including limited exercise and sleep deprivation, can lead to negative behaviours such as quitting jobs, dropping out of school and poor social interactions. Self-control and self-discipline are the foundations of establishing good habits and developing a healthy routine that will support success. 

 Where do you start when trying to create a healthy routine?

The morning is a perfect place to start. When creating a new routine, it is important to remember to take things slow and slowly work in the changes with your existing routine. Beginning with your morning routine is perfect as it will set you up with purpose and consistency for the rest of your day. Start small by waking up at a consistant time every day, drinking a glass of water and incorporating 20min of meditation to help focus your mind. Routines can help anchor us in daily life, creating comfort and stability. Things as simple as eating your breakfast at the same time each day, performing the same task daily, like making your bed or washing your face is all part of your routine. This helps create a sense of manageability allowing you to cope better with unpredictable changes. 
 For example, my routine is very simple in the mornings. I wake up around 9am, drink some water (usually before i've even gotten out of bed). Get myself up and have a glass of kombucha, then I get dressed and head to the gym for an hour and have breakfast when I get home. Now my morning routine does change slightly depending on whats happening each day. Sometimes I start work earlier, in which case I make sure to either wake up a little earlier to fit my workout in, adapting my routine. When winter arrives, my morning gym work out is replaced with a few snowboarding laps. Even though my routine adapts and changes, I always make sure to include some form of exercise as for me personally it helps me to wake up and clear my mind ready for the day. 

 So how can you start to develop your routine?

 Its not difficult but it does take time. Set yourself aside some time to sit down with a pen and paper and really have a good think about what it is you want. Start by writing down what things you want to be part of your routine. For example exercise, reading, meditation, time with friends.

Once you have those written down, think about any things that could stand in your way or create obstacles. Common obstacles could be working overtime, having no energy, too tired by the afternoon.

Once you have thought of all the obstacles that could stand in your way, it's time to think of solutions to those obstacles. So for working late, it might be to do your exercise in the morning, or have your dinner already prepped for when you get home so you don't have to cook. Or if you are finding your lacking energy in the afternoon, maybe adjust your lunch so you have better energy sustaining foods included in it, or go outside for a walk and use the fresh air to wake you up.

Now that is all written down and you have figured out what you want to include in your daily routine and how to incorporate it around those obstacles, its time to map it out. Take your daily planner or calendar and LAY IT OUT. Think of how you can incorporate these things into your schedule. This can include specific things such as the type of exercise you want to do that day, or the type of meal you will prepare. It can also include changes you need to make to reduce the barriers, like going to bed earlier so your less tired or waking up earlier to include meditation into your morning routine. 
Now this next step is an important one, everyone needs help at some point. It is so common that we get stubborn or shy in asking for help, but it is with support that you will be able to achieve the best results and a happier outcome. 

Now you have  mapped out your week using the daily planner, think about the things and people around you that can help you accomplish your goals or provide the help you might need.

Sticking to it

Now you have you daily routine mapped out and ready to go, the next challenge is keeping it. Have you ever heard of the of the 21/90 rule? It states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to commit it to being a part of your lifestyle. A good way to keep yourself motivated and on track is to reward yourself for successfully making new things part of your routine. For instance, if you decided at the start of the week that you will go outside for a 30min walk 3 times a week for 2 weeks, at the end of the two weeks if you have kept this promise to yourself, you treat yourself to a night out. Or you want to increase the number of times you incorporate meditation into your morning routine, and you decided if "If I incorporate 20 minutes of meditation every morning this week then Sunday morning I can have a sleep in". Little rewards like this can help keep you on track and motivated. 


And there you have it, a road map to creating your perfect routine to fit in with your life. A few things to remember;


1- Create a routine that is best for you. No two persons' routines will be the same as we all have different commitments, schedules and interests. 

2 - A healthy routine should consist of these three things; Exercise, good Nutrition and proper Sleep

3 - Start small, don't try to make all the changes all at once, this is not sustainable. There is nothing like a whole lot of change to scare a person off. Pick one or two things each week to change and incorporate. This might be cutting out existing bad habits and replacing them with new good habits, like cutting out late nights and going to bed earlier, or swapping something for a better option, like swapping out that McDonald burger you get for lunch most days for a healthier meal you prepared at home. By making little changes you will gradually be able to maintain the behaviour creating better habits, improving your routine.

4 - be prepared, be prepared to change, be prepared to adjust, be prepared for things to not go exactly how you want and be prepared to improvise when life throws you a curve ball. Map out your routine so you can see what you want, implement as many tools you can think of to overcome those barriers that may present themselves, and prepare an alternate routine for a day when you know it will be different. For instance, you know you are going away for the weekend, so this will upset your usual routine a little bit, but thats ok because you are prepared for it! You have thought about what you will do, and how to still incorporate the things that are important to you.

 5 - Finally, don't beat yourself up if you miss a day. We are all human and making changes is hard. Things will be forgotten and things will get in the way. You don't have to be perfect every day and if you miss something, take a moment to recognise it and try to do better tomorrow. 

- Alyssa Michel - 

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