Having a routine can have huge benefits for you, it can make your body healthier and your mind calmer. How do I know this? Because that’s what’s happening everyone I ask and also myself.
I used to hate routine
If you’d spoken to me 3 years ago about this I would have winced my nose at the idea of having a routine. I liked my life to be spontaneous, for each day to be a surprise. I hated the thought that on a Monday, or Thursday or Friday four months from now I’d know what I was doing.
This is why I hated the idea of regular work, not work itself, but the idea of working 9-5 in an office, or anywhere. I disliked knowing that right now it’s 9am and I’m sitting at a desk, and in 3 months time, at 9am, I’d know that I’d be sitting at that same desk again.
My work in music was anything but routine, each week was different. And while it was refreshing, and different, and made me feel special, ultimately it wasn’t a great thing for me.
Do you know how I knew it wasn’t a good thing for me? It’s because A) if it was good I’d still be doing it. B) If it was good I wouldn’t have had a melt down that changed my life.
Chaos helped break me, now routine is helping fix me.
1. Routine gives you STABILITY
Having a routine can give you stability in your life, and for most of us stability has quite a few positive effects.
Having stability in your life means you’re less stressed, you’re calmer. It means you can work towards long term goals. It means you have a framework in your life that gives you time to do things.
Let’s say for example you want to learn something new, it could be anything. It could be learning a new language, learning how to do yoga, or learning to become a more patient person, or to cope with anxiety better. It can be anything that requires learning.
When you have a routine you know how much time you have for learning something new
This stability you create by adopting a routine will let you manage your day better, and therefore have more time to do the things you really want, like growing as an individual.
2. Having a routine helps build GOOD HABITS
Having the framework of a routine will allow you to build good habits. The very nature of a routine is that you repeat things. What happens when you repeat something over and over? It becomes a habit.
Building good habits are a by-product of having a routine. I myself have added meditation to my routine, so meditation is now becoming part of my routine. Soon it will build to a habit, and meditating everyday is a good habit to have.
If you build some good things into your routine, even as simple as “drink a glass of water when I wake up”, or “have a healthy breakfast”, these will soon become things you do without even thinking about them. Yay a life hack!
You feel like something is wrong if you break a habit
The great thing about habits is that after a while it starts to feel weird if you don’t do them. You feel like you are forgetting something if you don’t do it. It sort of doesn’t feel right.
This is powerful stuff when you have good habits, because everything you do that is good for you is only ever making you a better person. It’ll make you naturally keep doing things that are good for you.
wouldn’t it feel great to want to do yoga, or exercise, or meditate? Rather than think of them as a chore. A routine will create this
3. It can give you MORE HOURS IN A DAY
If you have a routine you can fill the hours of your day better. For example if you know that from 7-8am you are getting up, having a shower and eating breakfast, and it’s roughly the same everyday, then you know your morning routine is roughly an hour.
So what if you shift it from 6-7am instead, this means you’d get a whole extra hour from 7-8am afterwards! Wow! You have literally given yourself an extra hour each day. That’s 7 hours a week. That’s 354 extra hours a year. By just changing a small part of your day you’ve given yourself 15 days a year of extra time!
What will you do with all the extra free time?
With this extra time you can do whatever you want, maybe you’d like to read? Or go for a walk? Or just sit in the sun and enjoy the warmth on your face? You can do anything and it won’t muck up your day. You will still do everything you normally do, except you’ll have more time to do other things too. Yay life hack #2!
We’re not in the military!
Ok I don’t want this to sound like you have to plan your day down to the second. It shouldn’t be a case of you thinking “oh my goodness it’s 7.20am and I overslept and now this ruins my whole day!”.
People are people and life is life and often it is simply out of our control. You don’t need to plan your day down to the minute, that’s impossible, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still plan it as best you can.
Your own routine and habits will eventually build on themselves
Remember what I was saying about building habits? And that after a while it feels weird not to do a habit? Well there’s your answer! Your habits will automatically fit into your routine and schedule, in fact they’ll probably create it for you.
After a while you won’t have to think about getting up at x time and doing x activity for x amount of minutes or hours, because you’ll just do it! It’ll be automatic, and if you do forget you’ll get a natural reminder of your brain saying “hey, umm, I think there’s something we’re forgetting to do…” and when you get that you can go ahead a do what you forgot.
A routine can lead to a comfort zone
While there are benefits and drawbacks to a comfort zone, sometimes a comfort zone can be a good thing. It can be particularly good if you want to start to build a routine. You can read about comfort zones in my post why comfort zones can be a good thing.
Variety is the key to life, so breaking out of your comfort zone is where the real learning begins. However if a routine, or the thought of building a routine is something new to you, then when you make one you’ll be out of your comfort zone! New things often take us out of our comfort zones, so by the mere fact of creating one you’re learning and growing.
enjoy the ride of building a routine, and when new habits are formed, branch out of your comfort zone to build even more good habits.