If you’re balancing work, family obligations, and your social schedule, it’s easy to feel like time is always running out.
Have you considered creating a daily routine? Do you already have one, or have you given up on one in the past?
If your routine-building efforts have delivered mixed results, don’t lose hope. Not only can a strategically-designed routine help you manage your hours more wisely, but it can also reward you with tremendous mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that extend far beyond a 24-hour cycle. We even suggest looking at meditation techniques for beginners or even a healing crystals guide to elevate your routine from the get-go.
Take time to learn how to stick to a routine that is catered to your lifestyle now, and you’ll thank yourself later while you’re enjoying the benefits of your organizational labor through good habits and feeling accomplished with daily tasks.
The Importance of Routine
Spontaneity comes with its perks, sure. But the fact is, many people crave and need certainty. Without the structure of a daily routine, you may end up feeling frazzled and unbalanced. And that can take its toll on your wellbeing. However, with a steady and healthy routine, you can experience a range of benefits by developing daily habits.
Mental Health Benefits
Even if you don’t struggle with mental health challenges, certain studies have shown that people with daily routines tend to suffer less stress and difficulty managing challenging situations. The studies say people also tend to be mentally and physically healthier too.1
Having the support of a structured schedule removes the guesswork about how to start and navigate the day. That could mean more mental fortitude and resilience when encountering events that you didn’t plan for.
Promotes Better Overall Health
Designing your day with a healthy routine can set the tone for a healthy lifestyle. Even just creating a healthy morning routine can positively impact the food and wellness choices you make throughout the day and over long periods of time. That means cultivating healthier habits that will benefit you throughout your life.
Sleep is another critical part of the general wellness equation. If you’re like most modern smart device users, it’s hard to unwind at the end of the day after hours of being glued to a screen or a phone. It’s also easy to skimp on shut-eye when appointments and obligations eat into your time.
Building a wind-down routine before bed and creating the perfect sleeping conditions can ensure that you get the critical hours of rest you need to recharge for the next day. Getting into a regular routine before bed will not only help with mental energy but also help you have an effective daily routine the next day. Little things in your bedtime routine, like staying off your phone can support the following day.
Why Routines Are Challenging to Maintain
If it feels like you start and stop certain health practices over and over again when building a routine, you’re not alone. Certain research has indicated that it takes nearly 66 days for the average person to adopt and stick with a habit. And sometimes, more complicated tasks require up to 254 days to fully embrace.2
Why is it so difficult to start and stick with a plan? Here are a few possible reasons:
- Lack of details and planning – A person with the best intentions still does a disservice to themself if he or she doesn’t create a detailed plan of attack. Mental notes just won’t cut it when you’re trying to turn an action into a habit.
- Lost motivation – When you don’t have a strategy or organizational system in place to meet goals, you may experience a lack of motivation to achieve those goals. If you don’t give thought to what and why you’re striving to create new patterns for yourself, it’s hard to stay invested.
- Too much variation – A habit is something you do all the time, not when you feel like it. Which is why consistency and repetition are key to forming healthy habits. Skipping a day here or there may seem harmless, but being too lenient early on could spell disaster for the long-term success of your routine.
- Unrealistic expectations – If you’ve ever told yourself that you’ll start running every day right when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day—even though you’ve never enjoyed running—you’re not doing yourself any favors. Setting realistic and bite-sized goals for your days will increase the chance that the items on your checklist will become lifelong habits.
Keys for Making a Routine Stick
The benefits of routines are hard to dispute. But you’re probably wondering exactly how to stick to a routine. That’s the true challenge.
Consider Your Priorities
In a perfect world, maybe you’d love to cook breakfast every day, prepare all dinners for the week ahead of time, and write in your journal once a week. But if that’s not a fit for your schedule and your everyday priorities, recalibrate.
Make a list of what you need to do in your daily routine and then see how your new habits can fit in realistically. Don’t forget to gradually add new activities so you can get used to them one at a time instead of feeling overwhelmed by your new to-do list.
Set Manageable Goals
The key to making a routine work for you is to start small with goals you can manage and maintain.
For example, if you’d love to drink more water, why not start with drinking one more glass per day than you usually would instead of trying to double or triple your intake right away? Instead of committing to running 30 miles a week, try running one mile a day and gradually build up your mileage. Accomplishing small goals and moving on to incrementally larger ones can also improve your motivation and make you feel confident going forward.
We mentioned that interruptions could be the enemy of routines, but none of us can predict exactly what will happen on a day-to-day basis.
Even the best-laid plans are thrown off by the unexpected or changes out of our control. You may get a flat tire on your way to your early morning pilates class, your refrigerator may break and spoil your carefully prepared healthy meals, or your best friend may desperately need an evening of one-on-one time after a difficult break-up. In many other similar cases, your priorities have to be rearranged for the circumstances—that’s just life!
Approach these changes as challenges to work around. You don’t have to throw the whole playbook out of the window. If you schedule a workout class at a certain time every morning but something gets in your way, see if you can make it up by going for a run in the evening or trying an exercise video at home. Keep an open mind and be adaptable so you can stay on track for your goals.
Use Tools to Stay Accountable
Whatever your routine entails, the best way to set yourself up for success is to use a tool to document and track your progress. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or use a complicated program. Again, do what’s right and most digestible for you.
Make a list in a no-fuss notebook or on post-its
Use a planner to track daily, weekly, and monthly goals and appointments
Use a smartphone app or calendar tool that reminds you of important scheduling items and to-dos
- Grab a whiteboard or bulletin board for your home to organize daily and weekly meals, activities, and even chores
Items to Include in Your Daily Routine
If you tend to feel overwhelmed about what to include in your daily routine, start by breaking down your daily routine into activity categories.
A Sleep Schedule
Do you know how many hours you sleep a night? Do you have a typical bedtime or waking time? If the answer is no, this may be the perfect opportunity to change that.
- Decide when you’ll get ready for bed – Set a timer or reminder for yourself to start your wind-down routine by a specific time. By the time your pajamas are on, you’ll be ready to get the hours of sleep you need.
- Create a nighttime ritual – That could be as simple as brushing your teeth and washing your face, or maybe you’d like to read a book, stretch, or meditate for a set amount of time before dozing.
- Set your alarm – If you have trouble waking up, set a few alarms at the same time every morning to ensure you’ll get up when you need to while still getting quality sleep.
Maybe your goal is to eat consistent, healthy breakfasts or just make smarter food choices. In either case, setting specific times to eat and deciding ahead of time what to eat could do wonders for your success rate. Create a meal plan or decide on groups of foods you’d like to eat more of every day.
If daily nourishment and gut health are number-one priorities, consider incorporating a probiotic drink or probiotic pill such as Bio-K+® into your daily routine. These probiotics can support healthy microbiota for critical digestive and immune functions. A healthy gut affects so much of the rest of our lives, including our moods and behaviors. Supplementing your healthy diet with a probiotic is an excellent way to take care of your intestines and your whole body.
Fitting in workouts takes some savvy planning. Set specific times and days for your sweat sessions. For added motivation and ease, keep your workout clothes with you in your car or pull out your gear at night before you wake up. And if time is the issue, consider lunch walks or workouts to make time to exercise. You could even do family walks at the end of the day to get that work out in while spending time with the kids.
If your work-life bleeds into your personal schedule, consider setting structure around when you clock in and out. For example, set a cut-off time for checking work email or give yourself a fixed window over the weekend to conduct work-related tasks.
Whether you’re planning your own or your kids’ social activities, setting aside time for fun and leisure can be a surefire way to make sure you’re all finding the quality playtime you deserve. That could mean:
- Game nights
- Sports activities or outings
- Movie Mondays
- Beach days
- Spa days
Making a daily routine that works for you doesn't have to be intimidating or frustrating. With some trial and error, an open mind, and the right tools, you’ll find yourself easing into the schedule you’ve always wanted.
And if you’re interested in learning more about our probiotic products for better health and wellness, contact us to learn more.
- Haines J, McDonald J, O'Brien A, Sherry B, Bottino CJ, Schmidt ME, Taveras EM. Healthy Habits, Happy Homes: randomized trial to improve household routines for obesity prevention among preschool-aged children. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Nov;167(11):1072-9. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2356. PMID: 24019074.
- Arlinghaus KR, Johnston CA. The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018 Dec 29;13(2):142-144. doi: 10.1177/1559827618818044. PMID: 30800018; PMCID: PMC6378489.