Although humans are creatures of habit, many people avoid routine because they believe it will make life predictable or boring. Introducing structure and organization into your daily routine, however, can increase your productivity and motivation to achieve your goals. In the long run, routines can help you sustain a healthy diet and exercise habits, improve sleep, and promote better overall health.
Developing a routine can also get you through hard times by giving you a sense of control and stability. Without structure, your brain will have more time to focus on the source of your problems, causing an increase in stress and overwhelming feelings and a lack of focus and concentration.
Nearly 45% of our daily activities are habitual, meaning we do them automatically or without thought. Those habits - good or bad - make up a significant part of our day. If we took the time to turn that 45% of habitual practices into emotionally, physically, and intellectually healthy routines, the benefit to our holistic well-being would be immeasurable.
It’s easy to form a routine based on ideas from others, but be sure to ultimately build a routine that works for you and your schedule. Here are a few healthy habits to add to your daily routine:
Write down what you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude allows your mind to focus on what you already have instead of what you lack. Learn more about what gratitude does for you and ways to practice it here.
Affirmations. As soon as you wake up, recite a positive affirmation out loud. Something like “This is going to be the best day ever!” or “I am loved and I am worthy.” It may feel silly at first, but voicing positive words in the morning can shape the way that you see the day to come as well as what actions you will take to make it happen. Check out this list of positive morning affirmations to get started.
Visualizations. Visualization can give you a sense of control over your future and help you make your dreams a reality. After you say your daily affirmations, you can start to visualize the steps you will take to achieve your goals. These steps could be long-term or what you want to accomplish today. Learn more about visualization here.
Read something. Reading decreases stress, enhances knowledge, improves communication skills, promotes stronger memory,and more. While finishing an entire book seems like a daunting task, reading one chapter every day is an easier way to break it down into more digestible parts and gets your brain going in the morning.
10 minutes of mindfulness. Just 10 minutes of mindfulness exercises per day is enough to create noticeable changes in cognitive function. Mindfulness improves concentration and working memory while also grounding you at the moment and making you aware of your surroundings. See different types of mindfulness meditation and exercises here.
20-40 minutes of exercise. Everyone knows the benefits of daily exercise, but not everyone knows that just 20-40 minutes is enough to fuel your body for the day. A study found that30 minutes of exercise a day had the same or greater results than a 60-minute workout. Quality exercise seems more attainable when you start small, so try going for a walk at the end of the day or include a quick exercise break after lunch.
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