Routines

Do you have goals you want to accomplish in 2021?

Start of right by learning how to accomplish your goals with the help of routines!

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Learn about how you can track your routines anywhere and anytime. This Ebook includes:

  • A guide on how to track your routines virtually to save you time and decrease stress
  • Examples of how to track different routines
  • Routine templates so that you can immediately put these tips into action.

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What is a routine?

Routines are an expected sequence of events that occur at regular intervals (Dictionary). They occur on a regular basis, whether that be hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly, as long as it's consistent.

Routines take on many forms, and we already do them in our lives every day. Getting out of bed and eating breakfast every morning is a routine, going to work for five days a week, every week is a routine, or going out to walk your dog can be routine if done regularly. Life is full of activities that need to be done, which can get overwhelming. Creating routines can decrease this stress and allow you to live a healthier life.

Routines have been a fundamental part of health for years; the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is based on having a routine for optimum health (Arlinghaus & Johnston).

 

What is the importance of having a routine?

Routines can help create a sense of normality, but there are also health benefits to creating routines. Some of these benefits include:

  • Ensuring the body remains active throughout the day; can be done by keeping track of workouts, daily walking, or other physical and social activities, which are all activities that can increase our mood (Blurt It Out). It can be hard finding the time and motivation to exercise, which is where routines are beneficial.
  • Improving mental health by decreasing stress levels caused by lack of structure or time. Making a routine can ensure time management and create a sense of normality- decreasing anxiety levels. Reducing daily uncertainty can allow you to feel more in control of your life (NorthWestern Medicine).
  • Improve sleep quality by having a nighttime routine and healthy sleep schedule (Blurt It Out). Sticking to a sleep routine can allow for deeper and better quality sleep at night. A nighttime routine, such as staying off your phone for an hour before bed, can lead to better sleep quality by reducing blue light exposure before sleeping.
  • Routines can help keep time balanced, which can be fundamental in scheduling time for cooking and eating healthy meals. Not only is eating healthy important for our physical well-being, it's crucial for our mental well-being and can also affect our mood (NorthWestern Medicine).
  • Become more efficient and ensure important tasks get done (Skilled at Life). Taking medications at the same time everyday is necessary for optimum use. Having a routine that incorporates a time for medication can help make you more consistent with taking it. Additionally, it will ensure you're taking your medication and that it's done on time. It can also be a reminder that you've already taken your medication, in order to avoid a double dosage.
man bending down to tie shoelace with a weight in front

How can routines help you to create healthy habits?

To start creating healthy habits, it's useful to know what healthy habits mean and how routines can help in creating them. Healthy habits are defined as a behaviour that beneficially influences physical or mental well-being (The Free Dictionary). These habits are often linked to higher levels of both self-control and discipline (The Free Dictionary). Routines can help us get into a pattern of repeating a certain activity since habits are formed by a constant repetition of a behaviour (Arlinghaus & Johnston).

For example, repeating the activity of brushing your teeth before bed for numerous days will train the brain to automatically cue that it needs to get done. This way, it seems like less of a task and more of a necessary action to complete the day. When individuals are faced with a decision they will usually choose the one that is quickest and easiest, even if it isn't the most ideal. This is where routines are crucial since they decrease the number of decisions made daily (Arlinghaus & Johnston).

Some examples of healthy habits that are created easier with routines are regular exercise or physical activities, healthy eating, sleeping well, drinking water, and mental health check-ins, to list a few.

It's important to start small when creating routines. Often, when individuals implement too many routines in a short time period, it can lead to routine burnout where it seems impossible to reach the goal of accomplishing daily routines. It's best to implement small changes; try only doing one or two changes at a time and slowly building a routine that works best for you and your health.

Woman drinking water with a sunset behind her

Steps to create a meaningful routine

With the information about what a routine is and why it's the key to creating healthy habits, it's time to start creating a routine that is meaningful to you. To start creating a meaningful routine, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Jot down some ideas for goals that you want to accomplish. 
  2. Choose a goal to focus on right now and break it into smaller goals that are easily achievable and will lead to the ultimate goal. For example, you might have an ultimate goal of eating healthy, but that needs to be broken down into a smaller goal that is achievable; this might look like cooking 3 healthy dinners a week. Remember, you always want to start small with your goals and then add on to them at a pace that works for you.
  3. Plan out the timing of your routine based on step 2. Decide how often and the time you want to set aside for your routine to get it done. Start small by choosing a frequency that you know won't leave you feeling overwhelmed. When choosing a time, it's best to ensure your routine is done at the same time to remain consistent. 
  4. Keep a note of your routine and set reminders. This can help to avoid forgetting about your routine, and when done regularly, it can increase your consistency. This can be as simple as setting an alarm for your medication or creating a visual cue such as leaving a workout bag by your front door (HealthLinkBC).
  5. Keep it fun! Routines can be hard to stick with, but if you enjoy doing your routine it will easier to complete it. Try getting a friend or partner involved in the routine, listen to your favourite playlist when doing a routine, or take up a class if your routine allows for it such as yoga or cooking (Life Hack).
  6. Note when you've completed your routine. There is a sense of satisfaction in being able to check off a routine, knowing you accomplished your goal. When you track your routine you can also notice any changes, improvements, or patterns that have occurred during your routine.

Now it's your turn, go and create a routine that sets in motion the path to accomplishing a goal you have!

puzzle pieces creating stairs with an arrow leading up them

How to maintain your new routine

Consistency

Maintaining a routine requires consistency. If you slack off one day, it breaks the repeated behaviour that makes up a routine. However, consistency tends to be the hardest part of a routine for the majority of us. So let's look at how to maintain consistency within new routines.

To start, it's important to note that if you find yourself always being inconsistent with your routines, you might need to change them. Make it less time consuming by cutting back on the requirements for completing the routine, make it more fun by adding in elements you enjoy doing such as listening to music, or you can make it more catered to how you operate specifically.

The best routines are the ones made specifically for us, our goals, and our values. If you know you can get overwhelmed by a routine of working 2 hours straight, break it up into 25-minute segments with a 5-minute break in between each segment. Sticking to a routine might take some compromise, but with a little perseverance, you can thrive at maintaining routines.

Start Small

The key to creating and keeping routines is to start small. Often, it can be hard to stick to a larger routine goal, such as consistent workouts or eating healthy all the time. We may find ourselves getting lazy and skipping certain days of our routine. That's why it's key to start with a small goal and add on to it over time.

Instead of jumping right into a goal of creating only home-cooked nutritious meals, you should start by cooking nutritious meals for three dinners a week. This way, you don't feel overwhelmed coming up with recipes, and it will leave you more motivated to cook. Once you've established this as a routine, you can slowly add in more days until you reach your goal.

As mentioned above, it's important to create routines specific to you and how motivated you are for the task. After all, no one knows you better than yourself. Take your time with routines, and start small to be more motivated to complete them, and eventually, they might turn into habits.

Set Reminders

Setting reminders can allow us to stay on track with our routines. Hearing an alarm or notification go off that reminds us to do part of our routine decreases the likelihood of forgetting to complete it. It can also help to stay motivated to complete routines if there is a reminder.

Reminders are important in the stage leading up to creating a habit. Once a habit is established it can become second nature, but getting to that point will take some work. A reminder is essential to not forget to do the routine. Beneficial to us is that we live in an era with technology that can create automated reminders. You set the reminder once and don't have to worry about setting it again; it will always go off when you need it to.

alarm clock

Tips and reminders for routines

The goal of having routines is to create a habit. Each person is different, for some it takes only a little time to develop a habit, but for others, it can take quite a while. Both are acceptable, and both can achieve the goal of forming a habit. Reminders play a huge role in sticking to a routine long enough to form a habit, as it reminds us to stick to our routine.

If you find you're struggling to keep a routine, one way to help stay on track is with rewards. Set a reward in place for after you complete your routine to help you stay motivated. It can also be helpful to find a routine that you can do with a friend to stay more motivated. Popular routines included going to the gym together, going for runs outside, or cooking together.

Remember to not get down on yourself if you miss a day. Change can be a hard thing, so sticking to new routines and habits can be challenging. If you do miss a day don't stress out over it. Instead, set a reminder for tomorrow and find something that inspires you to complete your routine.

Lastly, remember to set aside some time during the day to have some you time. It can be stressful to complete various tasks that correspond to your routine through out the day, which is why it's important to make sure that you don't burn yourself out. A good way to prevent burn out is to take 30 minutes a day to do something that you find relaxing. Some examples could be playing the guitar, taking a bath, playing video games, or painting, whatever works best for you. 

zamplo111

Download Our Free eBook

Learn about how you can track your routines anywhere and anytime. This Ebook includes:

  • A guide on how to track your routines virtually to save you time and decrease stress
  • Examples of how to track different routines
  • Routine templates so that you can immediately put these tips into action.
Getting Started - Routines-1

Resources to help with routines and creating health habits

  • Blog on how to incorporate Zamplo into your daily routine: here
  • Journal on the importance of creating habits and routines: here
  • To read more on the benefits of a routine: Blurt It Out and Skilled At Life
  • Tips by the Government of Canada to add to your routine for social wellness, during restrictions caused by COVID-19: here
  • Tutorial on how to set up a routine on Zamplo: here 
  • Interactive video on the anatomy of a perfect Morning Routine: here
  • Blog outlining 21 daily routines and habits to be highly productive: here
  • Morning and Evening routine templates below
Creating a morning routine-1
_Creating an evening routine-1