A daily routine is your secret weapon to easing stress and improving your life. However, it’s easy to miss things out or get things wrong when you create your first routine.
If you haven't a daily routine, read my article on 6 Important Reasons Why You Need A Daily Routine, and hopefully you'll be convinced to give it a go.
Perhaps your routine may have worked for you initially, but now you have stopped seeing your hoped-for progress.
First of all, don’t panic.
There are usually good reasons why your daily routine has become bleurgh, and it’s pretty easy to get it to feel fantastic again. As humans, we are constantly evolving and where you are now is likely to be very different from where you were a year ago.
Because life happens. And what worked for you initially may not work for you right now or even further down the line.
Read on to discover 4 techniques to help you fall back in love with your daily routine, regain the control you seek and reduce the stress you may feel.
Create An Easy Daily Routine
Often when we start to create our first daily routine, we get excited about the possibilities. As a result, we tend to fill our days to the brim, usually under the mistaken belief that we can do everything!
But before long, you find that you can’t stick to your routine. You’d hoped your life would get easier, but instead, you feel as if you are pushing treacle uphill.
So take a step back, take a deep breath and figure out where it is challenging.
Is your routine so complicated that you need a master’s degree in logistics to understand it?
Adopt A Block Approach
Many find it helpful to create a routine in blocks and to have similar tasks grouped together. But, first, check to see if your daily routine has a natural flow. For example, does one task flow into the next without having to change everything around you?
A simple analogy is to think about the routine you adopt every morning to get dressed. For example, you’re likely to put your underwear on first before putting your clothes on – unless you’re Superman and like to wear your pants on the outside. Once you’ve done this, you can easily put your outerwear on.
This leads me to mention that we all have different ways to get dressed in the morning. Some like to dress the top half and then pay attention to the bottoms, and others do it the other way round. Neither way is right or wrong; it’s what feels comfortable to you. The same approach should be adopted for your daily routine. What works for you might not work for someone else. So don’t be afraid to do things your way.
To learn more about creating blocks for a daily routine, you might find this article from The Spruce helpful.
Give It Time
When you look to change your routine, remember that it will take some time to change some of the behaviours. Be aware that habits can take a while to become established. Some people can take, on average, 66 days. For more information on why this is the case, read How Long Does It Take To Form A Habit.
Therefore set yourself a timeframe of about 2 months to test your routine out. Don’t get disheartened if you struggle after a few days. I recommend keeping a tracker to monitor progress. Alternatively, you might like to journal about your experience to learn more about yourself and what’s working and what’s not.
Enhance The Value Of Your Daily Routine
A daily routine can add tremendous value to your life. It can boost:
- energy levels
- reduce stress, and
- make you feel happier
But, if you struggle to see the value in your routine, changing it up can help.
I mentioned at the beginning that we evolve over time, so it’s natural that things that once helped you can become less impactful or relevant.
Be Aware Of Changing Circumstances
As your circumstances change, it’s essential to review your routine. The end goal is to feel fantastic and not just go through the motions.
We can quickly get stuck in a rut. What you want from your daily routine is to feel alive, in control and happy. If you no longer feel this way, consider what you can change to bring back the buzz.
Our season of life (boy, I love that phrase) moves on, and indeed, as we get older, our energy levels can be impacted. Be conscious of this when you look to update/change your routine.
Also, sources of happiness and stress levels can change. So take into account how you are feeling now. Remember, you can change your routine at any time. It’s not set in stone.
Allow Freedom And Spontaneity
Your daily routine creates structure, but it’s also important to leave some room for flexibility.
Life is unpredictable. There is always a curveball in the offing, which must be factored into your routine. If you make your daily routine too strict, you’ll find it harder to follow.
Stick to including the most important tasks in your routine, such as habits to improve your mornings. Don’t aim to create a strict timeline of how your day should go.
The Problem With Strict Timelines
Strict deadlines can hamper your routine right from the start. For example, if you have an hour by hour routine that takes you from getting up at 5 a.m. and not stopping until you go to bed at 9.30 p.m., you will be knackered.
If you oversleep one morning, your whole day will be out of sync, and you’ll play catch up all day. Not a nice feeling. You’ll stress yourself out trying to get everything done in a shorter amount of time.
Or woe betides any unexpected event. A sick child or parent that needs you. What do you do then? Or, imagine if a friend dropped in to see you. Someone you haven’t seen for years and just happened to be visiting the area and decided to pop in. Would you answer the door and say to them that you have only allowed social events to occur on Wednesdays, and as this is not Wednesday, you don’t have time to catch up?
No, the likelihood is that you would care for the sick and chat with your friend and then feel resentful inside for the interruption.
So ensure that your daily routine is flexible enough to give you the freedom to face anything without stress.
One of the great things about a daily routine is that it gives you structure. However, it should also leave room for change too. If you use your daily routine to avoid change, it’s time to stop.
Many people find that change is much more difficult if they follow a strict routine. So instead, they allow themselves to stay within their comfort zone. As a result, life stagnates and doesn’t move forward.
After a while, any suggestion of a change can make them feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
Don’t let this happen to you. Change can be for good, and you want to be able to accept it, not fear it.
If your routine has become stale and feels blah, it could be because you are no longer challenging yourself in a way that will allow personal growth. On the other hand, if you embrace change, you can shake things up and feel fantastic again.
So if you want to have a daily routine that feels fantastic and not blah, then take the time to review and update it.
Try to ensure you:
- Create an easy daily routine that you can stick to but be aware that it will take time to become established.
- Enhance the value of your routine to fit where you are in life right now, not the past or the future, but how it helps you today. Remember, it’s not fixed in stone.
- Allow for spontaneity to take advantage of opportunities that arise or deal with issues that need your attention without being bent out of shape.
- Embrace change so you can continue to grow and be the person you want to be
So, take the opportunity to review your daily routine today and update it if necessary. Remember, routines need to be altered over time to accommodate any lifestyle and personal changes.