Let’s do a bit of a review of the Self-Savvy Method up to this point:
Step 5: Getting to Know Your Routine
Diving into Step 5
Now that you have paused and gotten real with yourself, learned a bit of tender lovin’ self-acceptance, ultimately processed how implementing the bad ass that is you onto this world will optimize your life, and learned some self-care techniques, you are now ready to put it all together into a routine that works for you.
What is a Routine?
Simply put – your routine is a standard protocol for how you will behave in each day. It consists of all the self-care items we discussed last blog, your functions of daily living like showering, and all the other items you do each day to thrive and survive. My point in this blog is not to explain to you what a routine is though – it is to explain to WHY certain elements of it are so important. When people think of routines, they think of two main things: Morning Routines and Night Routines. Honestly, most people think of morning routines only, but I do know that people have been throwing around the term night routine lately too.
These morning and night routines are what I call bookends to your day. They frame it for success. Picture a shelf of books with the two book ends on the left or right. They keep all the books in order and they help you have an organized shelf. They are the rocks that keep the order in the universe.
Morning Routine: The morning routine is your kickstart to the day. If you do not have one…. Now you must. For those people who work overnights, I guess this system will be a bit reverse. The point here is that the minute you wake up, you start your morning routine. It literally sets the stage for your day.
Night Routine: The night routine is your closer for the day. This is your last chance to make an impact before you go to sleep. The point of the night routine is to get yourself ready for bed in a way that optimizes your sleep and rest, all the while consolidating what happened throughout the day.
Morning Routine Optimization Tips:
- Do not look at your phone until you have filled your own cup first.
- Pick 2-3 must-do things each morning that you cannot miss. (Journaling, a walk, meditation, reading, etc.)
- The activities you conduct in your morning routine should be replicable when you are not home, easy to implement and stick to, and things that you look forward to each morning. The last point is crucial – I used to workout FIRST THING in the morning before anything else, which I did not enjoy. This led me to dread waking up, which led me to dread going to sleep, which led to a whole cycle of problems.
- Dedicate 45 minutes to an hour to this routine. I actually have increased mine to about 2.5 hours because I literally do all the stuff that betters me before I devote ANYTHING to anyone else now. I read, journal, meditate, write, edit, workout, walk my dogs, THEN I work.
They key here is that you should ENJOY your morning routine, even if you are not a morning person. It is intended to be for you and only you, and it should be something that jumpstarts your day not makes you bitter EVERY morning. Do not watch the news, don’t scroll Instagam – better yourself and enjoy the hell out of it.
Another fun fact: You will have a WAY more productive day when you do this.
Productivity comes after self-care NOT before.
Night Routine Optimization Tips:
- Don’t do too much thinking. The brain needs to wind down not revv up.
- Consider creating and reflecting rather than thinking. Again, the night time is a great one for novel ideas and thinking outside the box – you are so tired oftentimes that your filter is on low. I love when my filter is on low.
- Make it something relaxing and fun. This is a good time to do your scheduled fun activities, which I discuss in my self-care blog (step 4) LINK BLOG.
- Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to your night routine.
Again, like the morning, the night time is supposed to be just for you. You need to go go go all day and then refuel. Take the time each night to give back to yourself – don’t work until you fall asleep or hang out with people and devote no alone time before bed! Sometimes, if I am out with people or on vacation, I will leave a gratitude journal by my bed. Before I close my eyes, I will put on some meditative music and I will write out some gratitude then go to sleep. Although it is not my whole night routine, it is SOMETHING I can do for me before bed.
I did not say these routines have to be perfect everyday – they just have to be doable every day.
Oh yeah and one last thing: make these routines a bit flexible if you are a traveler. The point is not perfection like I said, the point is to be able to do SOMETHING every day no matter what to start off your day and end your day thinking about yourself.
My general night routine is about 2 hours long and looks like this: TV with Will, Walk Dogs, Gratitude List, and Meditation Music to Sleep.
What are the Benefits of Practicing Routines?
- Better sleep quality
- More focus throughout the day
- Easily identify burnout and quicker address it
- More joy
- Less irritability
- More productivity
- Less anxiety
And the list goes on…
Tips to Spice Up Your Routine If Your Routine Sucks
1 – Reflect on what you want to do.
When your life feels in chaos and out of control, the only thing you can do is pay attention. You may not be able to change right away, but you can do some small things to reflect on how it is going. You can tap into how you feel and jot down some notes each day on what you want it to look like. Make a note of some things you really want to do that you keep putting off like reading more or journaling more or meditating. Then…
2 – Plan one thing to add.
After you reflect for a couple of days, pick one thing you will do to make your routines better. Is it quickly meditating first thing in the morning because that is all you have time to do? Is it reading 10 pages a day? Really think about what will get you to the next level. You know what that thing is because it is the one that haunts your dreams and makes you go – but I won’t be able to do that NOW. Well, do that thing now.
3 – Track what you want to do once you start doing it.
Okay, so you decide to start meditating first thing in the morning.
However you want to to do this, but I suggest a journal or in your phone notes or a google sheet. List the activities you started and when you started them. Now, you get to track it. Hang a calendar on your wall that says “Meditate Daily,” and check off each time you do it. Then, jot down how you feel each time you do it.
Nothing keeps us going on a habit then seeing tangible results from it and checking off whenever we do it. We love accountability!
4 – Assess how you feel.
How does this new activity make you feel? Journal about it. Reflect on it a bit more. Then, do the process over again for more things you want to add to your routine. If you are struggling to stick to it – it is one of two things: 1) Something a limiting belief if prohibiting you from doing or 2) You may need a new thing that fits you better to do. Make your routine work for you and something you enjoy.
One final note: Patience, Consistency, and Flexibility are crucial to routines.
I alluded to this earlier, but the key to succeeding at morning and night routines is to be these three things: Patient, Consistent, Flexible.
Patient: Do not expect yourself to stick to your routine every day right away. If you never do a routine and suddenly do it 4 days a week, that is pretty good don’t you say? AND you will get there sooner than you think.
Consistent: Do this as often and consistently as you can, even if you go on vacation or hang out with friends. Try to set up a system that makes you do the thing even if it is not perfect. Over time, consistency and patience will win out.
Flexible: To be consistent, you must make your routine something that is not so centric to being home. You need to have something you can do ANYWHERE and whip it out in any scenario.
Got more questions on routine building and self-care? Check out my other blogs or ask me a question below!