Routines are important and powerful. Not only because humans are creatures of habit, but they allow us to save time by not having to make so many decisions. They can support you, your vision, and your goals…..OR…..they can work against what you actually want.
We all have routines, but few of us actually intentionally choose our routines. We just seem to fall into them, and we keep our routines unless they’re obviously failing. We often don’t even realize how our current patterns and habits sabotage our happiness. As a result, we lose sight of the power we have to change them.
Your current routines might be okay, but are they bringing you closer to your goals? Do they support your values and priorities? Are you even connected and aware of your values and priorities? Examine your daily routines and determine how well they serve you….and then consider how they don’t help you.
Can you make some minor changes here and there that would enable them to serve you better? Even a tiny alteration in a routine can make a big difference because they’re performed consistently. Over time, these actions add up.
One of the most prominent forms of self-sabotage is taking on too much at one time and expecting to change everything as fast as possible. Unfortunately, as with most things, there are no shortcuts. We didn’t create these habits overnight, and we aren’t going to break them overnight.
Ask yourself these questions about your routines:
(And if you are really serious, write them down…. preferably in a journal or notebook.)
- Morning routine From the time your alarm goes off until you’re out the front door or before starting your day to work at home, what do you do?
- What time do you get up? How many times does your alarm go off first?
- What do you think about while lying in bed?
- What do you have for breakfast?
- Do you do anything besides eat and prepare for work? What do you do? Are you doing those things optimally?
- How much time do you waste that you could be using productively?
- Do you watch the news?
- Scroll through social media?
- Do you work out? Pray? Meditate?
- Do you share positive interaction with your partner or do you share negative interaction?
- Do you rush around full of anxiety yelling or nagging at the kids to hurry up?
How we start our day greatly impacts the rest of our day.
- Work routine
- Are you taking the optimal route to work?
- Do you get gas before work or after?
- How do you use the time in your car? Do you listen to the news? Music?
- Do you listen to audible books or podcasts? If so, what topics do you gravitate towards?
- How early do you arrive at work?
- What do you do first?
- How much time do you waste at work?
- Do you multitask?
- What are your eating routines?
- How do you choose your meals?
- Do you buy your lunch or bring it to work?
- What is your snacking routine?
- Do you prepare healthy meals ahead of time or just throw together what you can at the last minute?
- How often do you eat out?
- Evening ROUTINE How do you spend your time after you get home from work?
- Think about your household chores, and the time you spend with your family. Are you making positive memories with your loved ones? How?
- What do you eat for dinner? Do you eat at the table with your family?
- What hobbies do you spend time on?
- How much TV do you watch? Do you watch TV in bed?
- How do you use the time before bed?
- Do you prepare for the following morning?
- What time do you go to sleep?
- Do you share positive or negative interactions with your partner?
- WEEKENDS (or other non-work days)
- How do you spend the weekends? What are your weekend routines?
- Do you sleep in?
- Do you go out for doughnuts every Saturday morning?
- Do you practice your religion?
- Is Saturday afternoon family time?
- Or do you hang out with friends? How much? What do you do?
- Do you meal prep for the week?
- Run errands?
- YEARLY ROUTINES
- Do you go on an annual vacation?
- What about mini-staycations?
- How much time do you intentionally take off from work?
- Do you set yearly goals?
Evaluating Your Routines
What is your general impression of your current routines? Are there any apparent weaknesses or places where you’d like to do something differently?
Identify wasted time. Look at your routines and determine how much time you’re wasting each day. Include all non-value activities, like watching TV. You might be shocked by the number of hours you’re wasting. Then, start thinking about how you could better use that time.
Habit stacking is a method used to fold in new habits with existing habits. Example: You are already driving in the car; why not switch out the morning talk show or music playlist to an audiobook you’ve wanted to “read”? Many books can be finished in a week or two during our already established commute. Where are some other ways to stack new habits into your existing routine? One of my favorites is using the time I am blow drying my hair to listen to audible books in my air pods.
Examine your goals, values, and priorities. Take a few minutes to jot these down. It’s not possible to evaluate a routine without having criteria to evaluate against. One of my favorite quotes by Tony Robbins is, “You cannot manage what you don’t measure.” This is an important step. Suppose you don’t know what’s important to you and what you want to accomplish. In that case, you’re undoubtedly wasting time and sabotaging yourself.
Also, consider the challenges you’re currently facing in your life. Between work, kids, significant life changes such as divorce, job change, or taking care of an elderly or disabled loved one, these things greatly impact our well-being. Are your routines helping, harming, or having no effect on solving your challenges?
Now, go back and create routines that make sense for you. Consider your current challenges and goals:
- What activities can you do each day that support what you’re trying to accomplish?
- What can you do each day to move you closer to your goals?
- What is the best way to use your time in each of your routines?
You might be able to accomplish more in the morning than just getting to work on time. With a proactive pre-bedtime routine, you could teach yourself a language or a new skill that could help your career, relationships, health, and hobbies. What do you want to accomplish?
You can accomplish anything with effective routines. What are yours?
Effective habit change is a learned skill and takes time and practice, like strengthening a muscle. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back. The point is that we keep moving forward and never give up.
If you struggle with your routine and changing your habits and want additional support and accountability, download my: Empower Yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Self-Sabotage ebook.
If you want to deep dive into changing your habits, consider VIP 1:1 private coaching with me.
I am Jen,
As a dedicated life coach specializing in co-parenting, divorce, and single motherhood, I bring a unique blend of professional expertise and personal experience to my coaching practice. I am deeply committed to helping women not only survive divorce but also thrive as they transition into their roles as single mothers. I provide tailored coaching to assist my clients in developing effective co-parenting strategies, fostering healthy communication, and creating nurturing environments for their children.
I am also the author of the best-selling book “I am Amazing: From Invisible to Invincible”. My self-help memoir offers hope and inspiration for anyone who has felt overwhelmed by life and their struggles with mental health. With raw honesty and vulnerability, I provide an intimate look at my journey from victim to victorious.