Route 101 is a mini series exploring ways to organize and better our lives through creating empowering and feasible routines. Read up on the series here.
Besides making them stick, knowing where to begin when it comes to forming new routines is knowing where to start. What should your routine look like? Better yet, what does a routine even need to consist of? I think the idea of having a routine, let alone having to create one, can be extremely intimidating –it seems like something only those “highly together” folks can establish.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The most disorganized, scatterbrained, agenda-bashing person can benefit from creating routines the aid the flow of their day. Routines are simply repeated practices that you implement to add a bit of structure and order to your life. They can be as active as taking a weekly yoga class or as simple as waking up a few minutes earlier to enjoy coffee at your kitchen table.
Here are some things to consider when you’re ready to form a new routine, and how I used these things to help form my own.
What are your needs?
Before you start forming new routines, step back and consider what you need throughout the day, week, month, ect. Do you need more energy starting the day? A clear mind to get started on your tasks? Help getting those small, administrative tasks (emails, invoices, scheduling) done and over with?
My needs / I took time to write down certain areas that I was struggling with, and pulled my needs from there. I noticed that I was going to bed with a lot of anxiety, which caused me to wake up still feeling tired because my mind didn’t really have the chance to rest. Without a doubt, that feeling would follow me throughout the day and cause me to have serious trouble focusing.
My routine fix / To combat that, I knew I needed something to calm me down at night, and wake me up in a good state. I started by changing how I fall asleep. I ditched watching Netflix and opted for a dark room with my Rain, Rain app on in the background. I also threw in about 15-25 minutes of yoga before bed, and sometimes in the morning to help calm me.
Where’s your unbalance?
Routines help us to organize our lives not because it’s a time to focus on crossing tasks off of our to-do lists, but rather because they give us proper time and space to focus and be present. Adding routine helps take an area of life that lacks proper balance and gives it the lift it needs to get right.
Focusing on our unbalances is often helpful, because it reveals underlying needs that we may not have realized (or aren’t willing to admit) were there.
My unbalance / It’s hard for my to turn my brain off, and separate work time from downtime. Relaxing is hard for me; even when I step away from “work,” I’m still making lists and letting work thoughts fill my head.
What are your good and bad rituals?
Rituals are small actions that we do within our routines. Making that cup of coffee, waking up early to journal –things like that are all simple rituals that you’ve probably always done, but just not labeled as such. You can easily substitute the word ‘ritual’ with ‘habit.’ We always want to have positive and empowering habits within our routines. If you’re rituals aren’t helpful, think about how you can modify or remove that ritual.
Decide to begin right now!
When I first introduced this series, many of you expressed concern with figuring out how to stick to your routines. We’ll be digging into that more as we explore this series, but in order to create a routine that sticks, you need to commit to it and jump in sooner rather than later. It’s easy to stay you’ll start tomorrow or next week, but then you’re risking all of the possibilities between now and then that could get in the way.
Start today, the time is now!
The takeaways: Starting a new routine
I know we went over a lot in this post, and your mind may be buzzing with thoughts and considerations! Here are some takeaways before we move forward–
1. Write out your needs, being brutally honest with yourself. Store this list for later (I’ll explain why in another post!)
2. Review your areas of unbalance –write out and store these, too.
3. Evaluate your rituals –decide where you can and should make changes.
4. Commit to starting now.
And there you have it, we’re beginning healthy routines that will empower us to lead more sustainable and organized lives! Next, we’ll go over how to make this new routine stick. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, shoot me an email or tweet me using the hashtag #Route101.