A habit is an action you perform on a consistent basis. A routine is a group of habits performed on a consistent basis. You may have a morning routine, a nightly routine, a daily routine, or even a weekly routine. The goal of a routine is to perform a series of habits without having to think about it.
Why You Need a Routine
The primary advantage of a routine is that it allows us to progress toward our goals without having to think about it. You spend your time and effort forming habits and creating the routine. Then, the routine becomes such a part of your life that it just happens. No need for reminders. No need to add it to your To Do list every day. You just perform the routine and reap the rewards.
But, how do you build a routine? Especially in the gym business, we hear all the time that people tried to form new habits or routines, but eventually stopped. The most common, “I tried to change my diet. I did really well for about a month. I was eating clean and avoiding excess sugar. But, a month later, I fell back into my old ways.” Or, we often hear that people try to make time in their life to workout, but stuff just keeps getting in the way.
How To Build A Routine
So, here is how you form routines. It is going to take some effort and discipline, but you can do it if you follow these steps:
- Decide What Routine You Want To Form: Whatever you pick has to be a priority in your life. If you want to form a routine of self care and meditation only because the magazine you were reading says you should, then it will be hard to get your new routine to stick. Your new routine has be something you recognize is missing from your life that you need to change.
- Start Small: A surefire way to hit roadblocks is to go 0-60 all at once. If you want to form a morning routine, start with just getting up at the same time each day. Build small habits one after another. The routine will form itself.
- Be Consistent: Like everything else, Consistency Is Key. Decide how often you want to perform your routine and stick to it. You will get disrupted in the beginning, but be diligent.
- Be Prepared: Before you start, make sure you have all of the pieces you need. If you want to running regularly, make sure you have a pair of running shoes. If you want to journal regularly, make sure you have a journal and writing utensil.
- Tell People What You Are Doing: For starters, tell your friends and family for accountability purposes. When you tell someone else, it makes it real. Subconsciously, you won’t want to let them down then. Also, tell people who might be impacted by your routine. If part of your nightly routine is getting to bed at 9:30pm, make sure people know this. That way, they aren’t surprised when you try to leave dinner at 8:00pm.
- Track Your Progress: Visual aids are amazingly powerful. Create a spreadsheet, get a paper calendar, find a habit tracking planner. Whatever you pick, mark it down every time you complete your routine. You will be able to see your progress right in front of you.
Routines are important in your life. The more structured you can make your day with routines, the more progress you will see toward your goals. Routines are the opposite of shooting in the dark every day. If something in your routine isn’t working, simply change it up and keep moving forward.