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Routine is something I so badly wanted, but had the hardest time creating. This isn’t going to sound sexy or thrilling, but I knew a structured routine would help me accomplish my goals. Don’t get freaked out by the word structured. Structure is actually what allows freedom because you have the ability to create that structure. It can look however you want, however works best for you.
Are you back with me now??
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but I had to be sure to get my own routine down. How could I encourage you if I wasn’t doing it?
It certainly has taken some time to create and cultivate, but I have found a routine that works really well for me in this season. Use this as a point of reference, a guide you could say. Your routine may be very similar to mine or it may look completely different — either way is totally okay! Base your routine on your personal goals and priorities.
This post is part 1 of 3. Right here I’m going to talk about the basics: why, how, and my favorite resources. Part 2 will be my morning routine. Part 3 will be my night routine. Are you excited or what!? I adore learning about people’s routines because it always gives me good ideas and ways to make mine better. So if you’re anything like me, you’re ready!
Why create a routine?
This is a very good question, especially if you’re the free-spirit kind of person. As I said earlier, your routine is yours, so it can look however best suits you. Free-spirit or planner, you will benefit from a routine.
I am a huge fan of being intentional. A routine is ultimate intentionality. By creating a routine, you are intentionally doing what matters most. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the way you spend your time is the way you spend your life. A cultivated routine is taking control of your schedule so that you can accomplish whatever it is you’re after!
We are so busy in our daily lives. A routine means there’s one less decision you have to make. You have already determined how you’ll spend your morning and evening, so your brain has space to think about other things. Or even relax. It may feel clunky and unnatural at first, but eventually your routine will become a part of your rhythm.
I’m a creature of habit, so I thrive on routine. But even if you’re not like me, a routine is the best way to cultivate the life-giving habits you want. Exercise, meditation, connection, learning something new. These habits are formed by doing them daily. Consistency leads to progress.
How do I create routines?
This was the hardest part for me. I knew I wanted a routine and I had a general idea of the things I wanted to include, but how do I take that and create something? I’ve broken it down into three steps and a bonus step for good measure.
- Identify what’s important in the morning and evening — Begin by brainstorming activities. You don’t have to edit or narrow down just yet. Maybe consider activites based on different areas you’d like to grow in (faith, health, relationships, recreation, finances, etc). Choose the 3-5 for each routine time (morning and evening) that will make the biggest impact right now. Remember, you can always change and adjust.
- Dedicate time to those activities — How long will you spend on each activity? This is especially important in the mornings for me because I have to be at work by a certain time, so my routine must fit into that. Dedicate time to each activity and if in doubt, give a little extra so you’re not feeling rushed. An hour is ideal for me in the morning, so I made sure my activities would fit into that time block.
- Write it down — You are learning a new schedule, so you’ll likely need some reminders about what you’ve set out to do. Think of this as a check list for your ideal morning (or evening). You may not get it perfect every day, but you’ll be much better off with a gentle reminder and direction.
Bonus: Communicate with others about the part they play. This may be your family, your roommate, or a friend. Lets say you are working on growing in your friendships. You want a morning walk around the neighborhood to be a part of your routine, so be sure to communicate with your neighbor. See if they can commit and confirm a good time you both can make it happen. It would also be awesome to express why this is important to you.
My favorite resources for cultivating routine
- Notes app in my phone: This is where I store my routine. I have a place to check off each activity as I do them, so I always know where I stand. I don’t do my routine in any particular order, it just depends on the day and how I’m feeling, so this is really helpful for me.
- Simplified Planner: My planner is my lifeline. There’s just something about taking pen to paper. My Simplified Planner houses all my appointments, meetings, commitments which helps me know when my routine should get started and if any adjustments need to be made. For example, if I have a really early meeting, I may wake up even earlier or move some of my routine activities to later in the day. If you’re new to Simplified, you can get $10 off your order here! Thank me later <3
- PowerSheets: The progress I have made this year and last year have been possible because of this incredible goal planner. It serves as accountability and helps me identify what I want to cultivate. They are sold out for 2018, but the 2019 collection will launch October 24th. Promise me you’ll grab one and have your best year ever!
I’ll keep the encouragement short and sweet. Do your best. Give yourself grace. Be willing to adjust. Do you already have a routine? Will you be creating one? Lets chat in the comments.