Starting a new routine can have a powerful effect on your life. People are creatures of habit, and routines provide you with the structure to live a healthy, productive, and meaningful life.
Good routines can have many benefits, including better productivity and improved mental health. Though establishing new routines may appear to be a daunting endeavor, having no routine can actually be more physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.
Keep reading to learn more about what a routine is, why it is important, and some helpful tips for you to integrate healthy routines into your everyday life.
What does it mean to have a routine?
Routines can look different for everyone depending on their goals and lifestyle. A routine consists of actions that are done regularly, or at specific intervals (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly). For example, someone may have a routine they follow every morning before work, such as having a coffee, breakfast, skincare routine and getting dressed; these actions make a routine.
Another example could be someone who meets their friend every Saturday to go for a walk; this weekly action is a routine. Routines are meant to help you stay organized, productive, and achieve your short and long-term goals.
The importance of having a routine
Having a sense of routine in your life can offer a lot of advantages. Routines can improve your mental health in a variety of ways, including managing addiction and anxiety. It can also help to improve sleep, reduce procrastination, and increase productivity.
Routine is a critical component of long-term rehabilitation for people who are recovering from addiction. Experts say that routine helps to develop self-control, improve self-esteem and mental health concerns, prevent boredom, and improve physical health. Establishing healthier habits can help people to feel empowered during their recovery journey.
A consistent routine can give you a sense of control, which can help you feel less stressed and anxious. When we establish routines in our lives, our body and mind can adjust and know what to expect. Research shows that this helps to make life feel more predictable and stable, which can give a calming and anxiety-reducing effect.
Increased productivity and the decrease of procrastination are also benefits of having routines. Having a routine allows for better time management and the efficient completion of mundane duties, freeing up time for fun or other important tasks.
In other words, routines allow you to do more of the things that make you happy.
5 tips for getting your routine started
Now that you know the benefits of having routines, it’s time to learn how to integrate them into your everyday life. Keep reading to learn a few helpful tips to get your routine started.
1. Make a plan
The first step to getting your routine started is to plan; what are your goals? What new habit would you like to start? Once you've decided on a routine, you can start thinking about how you'll put it into action.
For example, if you want to exercise more and make it a weekly habit, you'll need to establish a solid strategy to do so.
Be specific when planning. Choose a specific time and day and pre-plan the actions you will do to achieve your goal. For example, “I will go for a 15-minute jog, twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday, at 6:00 p.m. when I get home from work”.
Making the goal specific is helpful as it determines exactly what actions you need to do to achieve them, and successfully make this a routine in your life.
2. Start small
When you are planning to get your routine started, it is important to start small and make sure your objectives are attainable.
Let's return to the previous example of attempting to incorporate exercise into your weekly schedule. If you make a goal to exercise for an hour every day, it may be challenging to attain, especially if you are new to fitness.
When you set goals that are too difficult or unattainable and you do not achieve them, you may feel disappointed or discouraged, making it more difficult to try again. Start small and work your way up! Begin by doing it once a week, then twice, three times, and so on.
3. Be flexible
It is important to remain flexible when it comes to your routines. Life is unpredictable and oftentimes, plans will change, and you will not achieve everything you wanted to. You may find it tough to find motivation at times, and that's okay!
Don't be too hard on yourself; it's perfectly normal to have days when you don't accomplish everything you set out to do. The important thing is to forgive yourself when things don’t go your way and get back on track when you feel ready.
4. Tell a friend!
You're more likely to stick to a new routine if you make your intentions known. Telling others about your objectives can make you feel more driven and accountable to meet them. You can even take it one step further by involving a friend in your new routine. This is how you can be supportive of each other in your pursuits.
For example, if you would like to implement daily walks into your routine, you can try walking with a friend who has a similar goal. You can hold each other accountable by completing the routine task together!
If the new routine you’d like to implement is not suitable to do with a friend, you can still check in with each other virtually to make sure you are both staying on track.
5. Reward yourself
Sticking to your routine can be tough! It is important to reward yourself for the time and work you've invested into achieving your objectives.
When actions are taken to reach goals, celebrating the wins (even if they are minor) gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also gives you something to look forward to, encouraging you to keep pushing toward your goals.
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Though creating a new routine may seem difficult at first, you will experience the benefits in no time. Remember, no routine is set in stone. It is important that it works for your unique lifestyle! if your daily routine isn't quite right at first, simply tweak it until you discover the perfect balance.
Do you find it hard to start a routine? What's your favorite tip on sticking to a new routine? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!