So far on the topic of routines, we’ve covered the many benefits of having routines, and why routines might change and how to stay flexible. We know the ways in which routines can be supportive to your overall health, and how they can create structure and accountability to help you stick to the things that allow you to show up as your best self. We also know that we as human beings are ever-evolving, and that there are plenty of reasons for routines to change to support and reflect your shifting needs.
Because we are fluid beings living in a fluid world, we come across times when we need to adjust our routine(s). Our needs change as we change, and as nature and our lives change around us! So the goal today is to equip you with the information and resources you need to create a strong foundation and framework for any routine. With these as your sturdy base, you’ll be able to create or tweak any routine to meet yourself where you’re at, and support you in getting where you want to go.
Let’s dive in.
Everything has a starting place, and when routines start from a strong foundation, it can make the world of a difference in how you relate to and experience that routine. HOW you do your routine, and the intention and energy you bring to it, is just as important as what’s in your routine.
Create your starting place and foundation by centering into your why, and your vision. Grab some paper and a pen or pencil, and get in a quiet, calm setting, wherever you can feel grounded and at peace. Spend some time breathing and quieting your mind, tuning into your body and the present moment…maybe even do a short meditation. Once you feel fully present and connected, reflect on the following questions and journal or take notes on what comes up for you. Do your best to meet yourself where you’re at with loving curiosity and non-judgemental awareness, and expand your answers as much as possible.
- What kind of routine are you seeking?
- Why do you want this routine? What’s your intention and motivation?
- How do you want it to look and be? (not necessarily the details of what’s in it, but the qualities of the routine)
- How do you want to feel when doing this routine?
- How will having this routine serve and support you? How do you want to feel afterwards?
The goal here is to simply connect to yourself, your heart and soul, and why you want a routine. It can be a noisy world out there, and it’s easy to get distracted by what others are doing and blindly adopt their beliefs and habits as our own. As you quiet the external noise, and set your intention and how you want the routine to feel and to support you, you’ll gain clarity on what you’re truly needing. These things will help guide you in deciding what’s right for you as you create and engage with your routine.
Now that you’ve laid the foundation by centering into your why, you can begin the process of creating your routine! I’ll walk you through a three step process to:
- Determine your needs and how you want to be supported
- Get clear on the logistical details
- Create and solidify your routine
Below is an extensive list of points and questions to run through and get clear on, but you do NOT have to follow and answer every point listed below. Take what serves you and what makes sense for you, and leave the rest! You can be as structured or as flexible as you’d like with this process, but it can be helpful to at least give yourself the opportunity to think about all these questions and see what comes up for you.
1) Determine your needs and how you want to be supported:
- Identify any current responsibilities or nonnegotiables. Do you need to include these in your routine to ensure they get done, or do you need to work around them?
- Identify what’s high priority for you in your life right now. Maybe a specific thing about your health, getting daily movement in, opportunities to express creativity, nurturing a relationship, or prioritizing yourself. Again, do you need to include things in your routine to support these, or to work around them?
- Identify any goals you want to work towards. These can be highly specific and measurable (as most goals are), or you can choose to have a more generalized and open ended goal that centers around something that can’t quite be measured…your life, your rules!
- Identify what you’re needing right now. Tap into your heart and the intention you set for why you want a routine, and don’t let any limiting beliefs or fears hold you back. What do you need to help you feel your best?
- Make a list of your basic needs. Movement, mindfulness, personal hygiene, nourishment, etc. Are these being met? Do you need to include actions in your routine to support these needs?
- Identify any sources of stress or anxiety in your life. What can you include in your routine to help you manage your stress/anxiety, and to address the root causes?
- Is there anything you want to start? Or maybe give more attention to?
- Is there anything you want to stop? If so, what would you like to shift your focus and energy towards instead? What needs to be addressed to help you stop?
- Identify your roadblocks and solutions. Is there anything that will keep you from doing your routine and getting the support you need from it? How can you address or adjust those roadblocks?
2) Logistical Details:
By now, you should have a good idea of what your routine needs to consist of to fit into your life, and to support your needs and your intention for having a routine. Next you’ll get the logistical details all squared away to further solidify a plan and set you up for success.
- Choose your cadence. Every day? Every other day? Once or twice a week?
- Identify how much time you have/want to give to this routine. Thirty minutes? One hour? Two hours?
- Choose a regular time block (if you’re needing that level of accountability). Sometimes choosing a specific time can be helpful for morning routines to get your day started! Or you can choose “every Sunday morning” for a 1x/week routine, for example.
- Do you need a way to track progress? Again, some people may want this level of accountability and structure, and others may not! Connect with what you’re needing to support showing up in the way you want.
- Do you need to be held accountable? This could look like tracking progress in some sort of way, setting a regular alarm/reminder on your phone, having an accountability partner, etc.
- Do you need to communicate your needs and your plan to anyone who will be affected? It can be helpful to have a conversation with your partner, family, etc. so they are aware of what you’ll be doing, what you’re needing, and how they can support you.
- Anything else? Is there anything else you need to get clear on or take action to support your success in this routine, and in personalizing it to your needs?
3) Solidify your routine:
You’ve done a lot of reflection and loose planning so far, and now it’s time to put it all into a plan. Remember that this is simply a rough draft or “phase 1”. You’ll want to try the routine out, learn from what you like and don’t like, and adjust! Allow your routines to ebb and flow with you and your life.
Since you have a lot of material from the previous sections, it can be helpful to highlight, circle, or pull out the pieces that are most important to you. From there, build upon your foundation to create your routine.
In this final step, you can be as structured or loose as you’d like; remember that you’re in control. You can create a detailed plan, or take a more flexible approach by choosing overall categories or themes and allowing yourself to choose specifics each day in the moment. Or even a mix of the two! Choose what’s resonating with you most right now and adjust as needed down the line.
(For inspiration on what you could include in your routines, head over to this blog post).
And there you have it. Your new routine!
Routines can take a lot of trial and error to find what really works for you, so expect that going into it, and invite a playful curiosity as you engage with the routine. Allow yourself to try being more or less structured, having specific blocks of time versus a loose list of things, and of course the actual contents in the routine. If you know you’re needing support in being grounded and taking time to connect to yourself, but not loving what you originally planned, choose a new way to facilitate those needs! There are plenty of options out there, and the key is choosing what works for you in the current moment.
Overall, it’s about YOU. Stick to what you enjoy and what you do well. Focus on what will set you up for success (whatever that means to you), and support you in showing up in the ways you want and need. And if any of this sounds overwhelming, start with baby steps and making gradual changes. What’s one or two things you can do on a regular basis to support your well-being?
To explore more on the topic of routines, check out these blog posts: