Humans love routine and tend to gravitate toward a workout routine or a daily routine to feel organized and productive. It makes sense since we are creatures of habit. But sometimes even the best intentions of forming a good habit can derail our whole plan. To feel empowered and productive, we crave a simple daily routine that will keep us feeling mentally and physically healthy.
I find that when I’m out of my routine, I lose sight of my goals and my intentions and start to enter an anxiety spiral.
That being said, finding a daily routine that works for you, and that keeps you on track with your health and wellness goals can be really difficult. Trust me, it’s not just you! We all struggle with keeping up with our to-do list and staying on track with our goals both professionally and physically.
Why Having a Simple Daily Routine is Important
In Buddhism there is a concept of the “monkey mind” which is used to describe a mind that is easily distracted, unsettled, and busy thinking of new things. It can take a lot of self-control to shut down the monkey mind.
When you allow the monkey mind to take over, it can create an unintended domino effect leading you to be less productive when you had high hopes for checking things off of your to-do list.
So how do we get off track so easily? It’s the small distractions that add up throughout your day and take you off track. You might think that it’s okay to just take a quick break to check your email while you’re in the midst of a big project. This quick email check leads to another task you suddenly remembered you need to do, which leads to something else, and the task with which you initially intended to complete is either all but forgotten, or pushed off even further down the list.
When you choose to have a simple daily routine, it allows you to focus your monkey mind and helps to ground you in the present moment.
By implementing a daily routine that takes you from one task to the next every single day, you will actually find that over time, you will be more productive and feel calmer in your mind and body.
Establish a To-Do List
Before you can implement a daily routine you need to have a clear idea of your goals. I love lists! But lists without goals are just wishes and will not be completed like magic. (Bonus: Once you’ve mastered the to-do list, I invite you to check out this post about a “to-be” list)
First, start with a brain dump. Write down your ideal morning routine. Then, narrow it down to three to five actionable things you can do to start your day.
It could look like 5 -10 minutes of meditation, or drinking a really yummy cup of coffee and reading a chapter in a new book.
For me, I enjoy waking up my mind by playing brain games (Elevate, Lumosity, Peak). I always have water by my bed and make sure to drink at least 8 oz. before I drink my coffee. Your body is always dehydrated in the morning from all the work and repair it did the night before. It’s a simple act of self-care to re-hydrate first thing. Then I stretch with some yoga or dance, depending on my mood.
Some people insist on making their bed first thing in the morning, opening all the window shades, and drinking a big glass of water.
I love how a quick morning routine can jumpstart your day, boost your energy and elevate your mood.
And if you want to utilize some “to-be” thinking consider the following mantra: “I’m ready to be open to the gifts of the day, to be organized and specific, and also mindful of my health “(by drinking the water).
What Is Your Workout Routine
It’s important that if you’re embarking on any kind of health and wellness journey that you are also mindful of what your exercise routine will be. Are you an early morning jogger? Or a late night yoga practitioner.
They say it takes 30 days to establish a new habit, yet I prefer to focus on getting started and taking it one day at a time. Sometimes your vision of your routine and your reality do not mesh. Don’t try and copy someone else’s routine. Take your inspiration and fit in what you can. Remember, showing up and doing one thing from your list is a major improvement. You don’t need to strive for perfection.
It’s important that you schedule time throughout your week and your day so that you can physically move your body in some way. It can be a quick walk around the block or by following a 20 minute guided workout routine on your favorite app.
I spent several weeks finding out which forms of movement I loved.
One of my lifestyle wellness goals is to be healthy by default. That’s really hard to do when you dread your exercise routine. So I changed the paradigm. I love strength training and aim for that three days a week. For cardio, I love walking my dogs at the beach, dance classes like Zumba, hip-hop, and UJAM, and kickboxing. I find that if I don’t put it in my calendar it won’t happen. I recommend starting with the big picture and blocking your schedule for morning routine and exercise. Then you can put specific classes or times to head to the gym.
My Daily Routine
I almost hesitate to share my routine because, to be honest, my daily routine changes quite frequently. And that’s inherently part of it. And the beautiful part? I don’t beat myself up or get lost in the “should’s” anymore. I do what can I do with the time and energy I have: Being flexible with my daily self-care routine helps me be successful with my goals without sacrificing my mental health.
That being said, I do have my schedule blocked off and my ideal routine is written down.
Be gentle with yourself in all things, especially when establishing a new morning routine.. Establishing a routine that works for you can take some trial and error, especially when you’re starting out.
If you miss a day or two or don’t do it “perfectly,” that’s okay! Every day is a chance to start over.
Over time, with more practice, your daily routine will become second nature to you.
Here’s a sneak peek at what my morning routine looks like:
- 6AM wake up and let the dogs out
- Make coffee and grab breakfast (usually a bar or smoothie)
- 6:15AM drink water, enjoy coffee and breakfast in bed
- Intentionally check social media (my business is online, so I avoid the scroll and get this out of the way so it’s not distracting me throughout my day)
- Listen to a Calm meditation, read a book, audiobook
- Check my calendar and confirm/edit my plans for the day (I normally review my day the night before, so this is just a double check)
- 7AM yoga or dance to warm my body up and get ready for the day
- 7:20AM pack gym bag, work bag, lunch and snacks
- 7:45AM leave the house to take my son to school
How to Create a Daily Routine for Your Life
Now that you have a sense of what you need to do, it’s important that you take some time to write down the things that are most important for your daily routine.
I love bullet journaling for this and have a post here where you can learn to journal about your self-care journey.
In the meantime, here are some ideas for your daily routine. Take or leave whatever you want and make it personal to you:
Morning Daily Routine Ideas:
- Spend 10 minutes stretching or doing light yoga
- Drink a large glass of water
- Make coffee
- Take a shower
- Get dressed
- Read 1 chapter of a new book (I like to alternate between personal and professional development)
- Meditate for 10 minutes using a guided meditation app (such as Calm) or timer
- Take a walk around the neighborhood
- Walk the dogs
- Write out your to-do list for the day
- Respond to emails or social media for 10 minutes
Daily Routine Ideas:
- 30 – 60 minutes of cardio
- 30 – 60 minutes of strength training (on alternate days)
- Prep healthy meals for the week
- Cook a healthy meal with your family
- Sit with family for dinner (put the phone on airplane mode)
- Meditate or take a walk on your lunch break
- Spend 10 minutes doing something that brings you joy (reading a book, taking a bath, talking to a friend, online shopping for a new trinket, etc.)
Nightly Routine Ideas
- Wash face
- Brush teeth
- Moisturize (or do a face mask before moisturizing)
- Turn phone on airplane mode
- Set alarm
- Review tomorrow’s appointments, to do list
- Set phone to airplane mode for better night’s sleep
- Read a book
- Give yourself a facial
- Yoga and Stretching
- Take a shower
- Go on a family walk after dinner
- Game night!
What’s your routine? Considering adding any of the above to make it more simple and effective? Would you also consider sharing the idea of this post by pinning it to Pinterest with the below pin? Thanks so much!