What actually Happens when We Create and Follow A Routine
Let’s face it, routines don’t always have the best vibe associated with them. When we think of routines, some common words and feelings that come up are ‘boring’ or make us feel like we’re settling for a life of mediocrity. Little do we know that routines are actually the gateway to having that freedom and happiness we all crave. Below I’m going to share with you what happens to your life (body and mind wise) when you start to create and follow a routine (and why you might want to create one now).
Related Post: How to Create a Morning Routine that’s Easy to Follow
Just a few little important tid bits before we dive into routines and their benefits:
Habit VS. Routine
A habit is “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior” (as per Merriam Webster).
A routine is “a regular course of procedure” (as per Merriam Webster).
What is the Difference?
The difference between a habit and a routine lies in the level of consciousness (or effort) it takes to perform each one.
A habit is more of an effortless action, and is often triggered by something else (for example, washing your hands after using the washroom). It presents as an automatic reaction, with little conscious thought (source).
A routine is more of an intentional action and require practice (for example, a morning routine of waking up at a set time, brushing your teeth, showering, having a cup of coffee etc.). Routines require more effort and conscious thought than habits, and don’t come as automatic reactions (however they can become habits with a solid amount of practice and repetition) (source).
What Actually Happens When We Create and Follow a Routine
There are so many benefits that occur when we create and follow a routine. I’m going to share with you all of the positive benefits (both body and mind) when we start to incorporate routines into our day to day lives.
We Maximize Our Time
You would think the opposite with having a routine, but the truth is you’re not being as productive as you think you are. When you know what to expect (for example, by having a morning routine), you don’t have to sit there and make decision after decision (it’s already done for you).
By building a routine, you take the guesswork out of having to plan chunks of your day (so you don’t waste time trying to figure out the direction you need to take). This way you can time-block and create effective routines that maximize your time (source).
We Reduce Stress
We often fear the unknown, and that can cause a lot of stress for us. When you create a routine, you take the fear of the unknown out of the equation. You train yourself and your mind to repeat a predictable sequence of events, alleviating anxiety around wondering what the day has in store for you (source).
Another way routines help reduce stress is through limiting our decision making. Each decision we make can cause us stress, so imagine how much stress we’re creating for ourselves by not having a solid plan? When you follow a routine you reduce the amount of decision making you need to do, which in turn reduces the amount of stress we impose on ourselves (source).
We Build Healthier Habits
When we follow a routine, we consciously make the decision to repeat tasks daily. Regardless of what your habit is (exercising, eating healthier, meditating etc.), by incorporating it into our routines, we make it easier for it to become a habit (source).
When we hold ourselves accountable to carve out that time for said activity, we’re helping ourselves foster that habit. We in turn, make these tasks a priority, and continue to block off time for them (source).
We Create Calm In Our Lives
When we follow a routine and stick with it, this ends up regulating our daily actions (and ends up deactivating our fight/flight response). Because we know what is to come, we aren’t constantly worrying about/creating non-existent scenarios of what could or should be (source).
Routines create a source of comfort in our lives. Because we follow a similar sequence of events, we create a sense of familiarity. This familiarity allows us to relax and be more prepared to take on challenges of the day (source).
We Make Time For What We Love
Let’s face it – life is all about balance. You can try and create a routine of things you think you should be doing, but that likely won’t last long.
When you design a routine that is both productive and pleasurable, you’re not only more likely to stick to it, but you automatically create time for things you love to do. By sticking to time blocks and following a routine, not only do you maximize your time, you make sure you’re creating time for yourself (source).
Make This Month the Month You Decide to Try a Routine
While you may have thought it was boring and uneventful to have a routine, you may now be interested in trying out a routine! Challenge yourself to create and stick to a routine this month that is a balance between productive and enjoyable.