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Creating a New Routine

Most people have a routine of some sort, even if they are unaware, and it varies from person to person depending on their specific needs and goals. For example, when I was working, I had a strict morning routine simply out of necessity. After morning treatments and medications, I needed to be in the car no later than 7:30 am for me to be on time to work without additional stress. Conversely, my present morning routine is vastly different, but I still remember that old routine. Additionally, I am thankful that it served me well for so many years. In this article, I'm going to define what a routine is, how to create a new routine, and briefly share the benefits of a routine.

Creating a routine during specific times of life is a common thing to do, but sometimes the details of what that looks like can be overwhelming, especially if you are changing routines. Subsequently, there may be some questions about the ins and outs of a routine. What is a routine? Where do I start? How do you establish a routine? And what are the benefits of a routine?

What is a routine?

A routine is a customary or regular course of procedure.1 Routines are a way of implementing structure into your day that helps give you a sense of control. Routines can center around how you get ready for your day or they can center around how you prepare meals. You may choose to have a routine that helps you focus during your workout to not skip any muscle groups for that session or for how to apply makeup in the correct order to get the best look possible. Routines are everywhere, but how do we establish a routine?

How to create a routine

Part of establishing a routine is deciding what needs to be done. For example, if you’re training for a race, you may need to work on endurance. If that is the need, you would emphasize endurance training in your workout routine or plan for more time to be allotted to working out in your daily routine. Once you’ve decided what needs to be done, Dr. Caplan from North Shore University Health System recommends following these tips.2

  1. Set small goals. As you break big goals down, into smaller goals, it helps us build confidence in what we can accomplish.
  2. Lay out a plan. Write down your routine. As you acclimate to your new routine, you can look back to see what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.
  3. Be consistent with time. Set aside a specific time for a specific task. This helps to remind you of what needs to be done and improves your success rate.
  4. Be prepared. Make sure you have what is needed for your new routine. This will help decrease frustration and delay.
  5. Make it fun. Creating, and sticking to, a new routine can be hard, but it can be made fun. For example, if your goal is to walk three times a week and you love a specific podcast, set a boundary that you can only listen to your favorite podcast during that time.
  6. Track your progress. Tracking your progress allows you to see where you are in your routine and to see the small steps you've made toward change.
  7. Reward yourself. Associate your reward with your new routine. For example, if your goal was to clean the kitchen every night before bed, reward yourself with cute new kitchen towels after a successful few weeks.

By now you’ve decided you want a new routine and after thinking about your goals, you have made a new routine and written it down, but before you execute and establish that routine, you may still have some questions. For instance, one question might be: What are the benefits of having a routine?

Benefits of a routine

The benefits of having a routine range from physical health to mental health. Before discussing the benefits of a routine, Brenner states that “establishing a routine isn’t a cure-all for mental health.” In addition to setting a routine, Brenner expresses that individuals who are experiencing mental health symptoms should explore other treatment options such as therapy, support groups, educational resources, and helplines.3

In particular, having a routine can help individuals by fostering better stress levels, promoting better sleep and better physical health, and by providing a good example to others.4

Creating and establishing a routine takes time and effort, but if it can be done, and the benefits are great. It helps provide a sense of control, can help individuals make effective use of their time, and help reduce stress. If creating a routine seems overwhelming, start small, with two or three things, and then go from there. Remember, routines are there to help, not hinder. You make the routine. The routine doesn’t make you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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