For some, routine comes naturally. They wake up at the same time each morning, eat a healthy breakfast, read the paper, and start their day. In the evenings, they cook dinner, clean the house, and maybe even get a workout in. After watching a bit of TV, they go to bed at the same time each night. The next day, like clockwork, they do it all again.
For others, developing a routine seems totally mystifying. Why do the same thing each day? What’s the point of sticking to a schedule? Where would I even start?
If you’ve found yourself wondering the same thing, it’s time to get the lowdown on routines. Read on to learn how routines can benefit you, as well as how to start a routine of your own.
How Routines Can Benefit You
If you’ve never had a routine before, it’s possible you think they’re pretty useless. You may be thinking that a routine is just an unnecessary schedule that you enforce for no reason, or that it takes the spontaneity out of life.
In truth, routines aren’t useless. In fact, they’re pretty useful. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
Routines Improve Your Mental Health
Do you struggle with your mental health? If so, you’d likely benefit from a routine. Those who struggle with their mental health tend to suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress.
Oftentimes, stress is born from a feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. A routine can help you build a schedule that allows you to complete the items on your to-do list, and not just fret about them. Additionally, it will give you insight as to what you’re actually capable of completing so that next time you don’t take on too much.
If you’re susceptible to anxiety that’s caused by change, it’s time to develop a routine, too. A routine limits the amount of change in your life. It makes your day-to-day feel comfortable and familiar so that you have more capacity to manage change when it arrives.
Routines Improve Your Sleep
Your body operates based on an internal, 24-hour cycle known as your circadian rhythm. This is the cycle that controls when you wake, when you feel tired, and when you sleep. If you suffer from chronic sleeplessness, it may be due to disruptions in your circadian rhythm. That’s a good indication that you may benefit from a sleep routine.
A sleep routine is a great way to get your circadian rhythm back on track. By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, your body will have a much easier time setting its internal clock. Plus, the various steps you build into your routine at bedtime will indicate to your body that it’s nearing time to go to bed.
Your body, in turn, will begin to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. You’ll be able to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, all thanks to your sleep routine!
Routines Help You Accomplish Your Dreams
For those with lofty dreams, routines are a great way to accomplish those dreams. When you have a routine, you’re able to structure your time as you see fit. That allows you to schedule time to work on accomplishing your dream and gives you the opportunity to prioritize.
A routine can also help you identify and break bad habits, in order to replace them with productive ones. Ultimately, a consistent routine will have you on your way to accomplishing any dream you desire.
How to Start a Routine
If routines don’t come naturally to you, developing a new routine can feel like an impossible challenge. Many who want to develop a routine take on too much too fast and find themselves struggling to keep up. If you want to create a routine that’s both helpful and sustainable, follow these tips.
Identify Your Goal
Before you develop a routine, identify what you’re looking to accomplish with your routine. Are you looking to improve your sleep or mental health? Do you want to accomplish a goal? Is it something else altogether?
No matter what your goal is, it’s important to identify it. Goal setting is extremely important to human beings. Goals help keep you motivated and focused. They help you feel accomplished and inspire you to create and achieve more goals.
Plan Your New Routine
Now that you’ve identified your goal, it’s time to list out the different parts of your new routine. Let’s say you want to develop a sleep routine to help you get 8 hours of sound sleep each night. Your plan may look like this:
- Go to sleep at 10 PM
- Wake up at 7 AM
- Cut out all caffeine after noon
- Turn off all screens one hour before bed
- Unwind by reading for 30 minutes each night
You have a goal and you know your steps to accomplish it. Now, the real work begins! But before you dive in head-first to an entirely new routine, it’s time to start slow with just a single step.
Starting slow is one of the most important parts of creating a routine that sticks. The idea is to select a single, manageable item on your list and practice it until it becomes a habit. Once that habit is established, you can move on to another, saving the hardest-to-complete habits for last.
For instance, start your sleep routine by turning off all screens an hour before bed. Don’t worry about the others right now; just focus on your screen time. Set an alarm and be strict with yourself about it. Once you’ve found that you do this without thinking, you’ll know it’s become a habit. Time to move on to the next!
Developing a routine is hard work; reward yourself for your accomplishments! Once you’ve got your first routine down pat, you’ll feel motivated to move on to the next. Before you know it, you’ll become a master at routine! With these easy steps for establishing a routine, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your goals.
About the author: Matt Casadona
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling, and music.