It all starts when the alarm goes off….it’s another day in the “salt mines” as they say. But, is every day the same as the last? What if your day yesterday was not so great and you want to start fresh today?
Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and rushed to get things done. Well, the good news is every day is in fact a NEW day and another chance to move the needle in the direction you want to go. Having a daily routine can help to keep you focused, alert, on task and moving forward towards your health and wellness goals.
What type of habits might you include in a daily routine? My daily routine includes time for meditation, prayer, personal discovery and self-development (typically in the form of listening to a podcast or two) and the typical daily to-do’s.
We know through research and studies that we are what we repeatedly do. Thus, if you want to change your current routine, it’s up to you to put the systems in place to change it for a new outcome.
According to author and lecturer, Dr. Joe Dispenza, we do this by making new choices that are in alignment with the future we want to create. He describes this concept as neuroplasticity, which is the 'muscle building' part of the brain. As in the rest of our bodies, the things we do often become stronger, and what we don’t use fades away. That is the physical basis of why making a thought or action over and over again increases its power. Over time, it becomes automatic; a part of us. We literally become what we think and do.
So where do we start? We start creating the life we want with a powerful daily routine that focuses on what we want to achieve and how we want to feel.
Top 5 benefits of a daily routine
1. Sets the tone for the day. A daily routine forces you to think about what you want to accomplish and perhaps more importantly how you want to accomplish it.
Ask yourself - What feeling do I want to have? How do I want to approach my daily tasks? By thinking about the daily end goal, you are putting the plan in place for it to unfold.
Taking time to meditate can be extremely beneficial, as you disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on what’s really important to you. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Our intention creates our reality.” I have personally found this to be a very important daily practice before meetings, events and personal gatherings. Just asking myself the simple question of, “What’s my intention?”
2. Contributes to overall health and wellness. According to Northwestern Medicine routines offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization. People who lack any type of routine tend to suffer from greater stress (poor sleep, eating and physical condition) and are prone to ineffective use of time.
I recently heard in a podcast that we have 1440 minutes in a day…wow, that many, makes you stop and think – how am I actually using all that time?
3. Builds good habits. Habits are
often the foundation of success
because through the repetition we create a lasting foundation. It’s important to allow ourselves enough time to establish new healthy habits
as well as see the fruits of our work.
My morning routine includes meditation, setting intentions, physical exercise and prayer. One aspect, exercise,
has been in place since I was in my early 20’s. It’s something I started for the physical benefits but quickly realized the positive mental health aspects as well. When we
design a personal routine that works for us, it facilitates developing good habits by encouraging us to repeat the same tasks over and over again.
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
- Lao Tzu
4. Increases efficiency. A routine is something that you do over and over again, eventually making it a habit. Once it’s a habit, you don’t need to think about it to act. The fact that you don’t need to think about it actually saves time. There’s also the element of the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule. The rule states that 80% of all
results come from 20% of the effort - whether that’s in business, personal relationships, economics or gardening. With this principle you are able to do more by doing less – thus improving your efficiency.
One quick way to figure what activities yield best results is to create two columns on a piece of paper. Under column one list all the activities you engage in (can separate
work and personal). Under column two list all the “wins” or big accomplishments you achieved. Next, draw a line from the activity of the first column that is directly related to the desired result in column two. You’ll see that only about 20 percent of your activities contributed to your desired outcomes.
5. Builds positive momentum.
When we accomplish even just 1-3
small goals every day, we feel a sense
of accomplishment. According to life and business strategist, Tony Robbins,
if you want to have ongoing joy and fulfillment in your life, the secret is just one word – progress. Progress equals happiness. “While achievements and material things may excite you for the moment, the only thing that’s going to make you happy long-term is knowing that you’re making progress,” said Robbins. So, by just accomplishing a few tasks each day we can have that sense of accomplishment and forward movement. That’s the power of habits.
It’s important to remember when formulating your daily routine that it’s all up to you. There’s not a one size fits all and it’s just as important to incorporate regular breaks as healthy eating and a solid night’s sleep.
Also, when setting your schedule remember to be kind to yourself. If you’re going through a rough time or something out of the ordinary is happening at work or in your personal life, it’s time to ease off the gas pedal and take more time to rest and relax.
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