I wanted to write about the power of routines because I truly believe in the power they have to help people feel in control, have more confidence, and feel like their days have more of a purpose.
I was first introduced to the idea of creating a routine for my days when I found Michael Hyatt’s website and began reading his blogs. He proposed that routines helped him feel more organized and better prepared to win at work and win at life. I felt excited about the idea because I consistently struggle to find a good balance between doing a great job at work and being a great father and husband at home.
If you do some research on the power of routines, daily rituals, and habits, you’ll see that many successful people have found a way to incorporate these things into their lives for them to consistently achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves. This was an idea that I was not really aware of until my late 20’s. I’ve struggled with being organized, keeping balance, and staying on task for most of my life. I believe that I have an inattention problem that had gone undiagnosed for the entirety of my childhood. My inattention would often be mislabeled as me having a difficulty with learning. Often times I could hear family member describe me as “just not smart”. It felt empowering knowing that this deficit of mine could be adjusted with simply implementing some mindful and intentional actions to my day.
Initially, implementing routines into my days was difficult. I am a perfectionist, so I listened to a number of podcasts giving examples of what other people’s routines looked like, I felt overwhelmed wanting to fit in what everyone was doing into my routine. I had to learn to prioritize which actions made sense for me and to be patient with the process of tweaking my routine until it fit for my life.
Taking this step in my life has taught me some valuable lessons I want to share with you in case you are thinking of adding a routine to your days. These lessons may be helpful in relating to the challenges of building a routine, and help you feel motivated to continue building by reading about the benefits I received from them.
Lesson #1: A routine takes time to develop. Expect to struggle early on in developing your routine. It takes some time to try on a routine and see if it fits. Sometimes It may feel like you are not getting anywhere, but if you simply continue to try on different combinations of routines in your life you will come up with something that works for you.
Lesson #2: Routines should be actions that you do every day to prepare you for something. Some people have routines that they do in the morning before going to work, others have routines they do right before going to bed. Wherever you decide to start your routine, make sure that the actions you are choosing to do are going to help you feel prepared for something important. I enjoy doing my routine in the morning, I’ll provide an example of what my routine looks like so you can get an idea, but the intention of my routine is to help me feel energized, and motivated to tackle my day.
Lesson #3: Routines will have to change as your life changes. When I started creating routines for my day, my wife and I were living in sweet, sweet bliss. Just the two of us… then my daughter happened… I’m only half joking here, my daughter turned out to be a great addition to the family. However, having a baby did require for me to change my routine. I had to consider that having a baby now added things to my life and my morning preparation had to change so it can effectively get me ready to tackle the new daily tasks on my agenda. When changes happen, it can be so easy to abandon the routine and just stop doing something, but this is when its most important to hone in on a routine that can replenish you and help you have a productive day.
Lesson #4: Routines make me feel good. When I am consistent with my routine, I feel accomplished. I feel energized. I feel GREAT. Getting this down early in the morning helps me have enough energy to be more attentive to my daughter and my wife. It helps me have more patience with others in my life. Feeling good rolls over to other areas of my life that are important like relationships, work, self-esteem.
Lesson #5.1: Plan to fail. Routines will get difficult to maintain, especially when you begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Overtime I’ve noticed how my routine can stop when I spend too much time at work, or when I get sucked into too much negativity. I’ve learned that when I start to feel negative, overwhelmed, and out of control that I need to return to my routine. It is okay to drop off your routine, just get back on when you’ve realized you’ve slipped.
Lesson #5.2: As an extension to the previous point. Routines help me feel in control of something. This is extremely important as we are currently living in a time of uncertainty. Political and pandemic-related issues that are arising are making it difficult for us to feel safe right now. I’ve realized that staying focused on things that I can control such as actions that keep me engaged in areas of my life that I care about helps fight off anxiety and fear provoking thoughts surround me every day.
Here is what my morning routine looks like. Feel free to take some things from here and apply it to your own life, if interested. I also recommend listening to podcasts, reading books or blogs to get an idea of other routines.
1. Wake up at 4am
2. Meditate 20 minutes
3. Workout 30-45 minutes
4. Drink 40oz of Water in the am (I gallon a day)
5. Get ready for work
6. Get my daughter ready for school
7. Listen to a personal development podcast/energizing music, or sit silently with my thoughts on the way to work.
8. Write down my overall life goals.
9. Write down 3-5 actions steps I need to take today to move me forward on those goals.