Over the past 6 months or so, I have tried to implement some routine into my mornings. If you had to ask many of the successful people you know or follow, you would probably find they all have some sort of a routine for their day.
Spagnola and Fiese (2007) discuss how routines and rituals help early childhood development because it provides predictable structure which helps guide behaviour. Think about it, predictable structure – when are we most comfortable? When we can predict things. It reduces our cognitive load, makes things easier when we have decision fatigue and helps us find efficient ways of getting things done in a particular order.
Even though Steve Jobs believed that dynamic capability fostered innovation, he also believed in routine in terms of process (how things get done) to be part of Apple’s success.
Let’s face it, routines are a lot of work! That’s the main difference between a habit and a routine; a habit is subconscious, performed with little effort or mental capacity, whereas a routine requires great amounts of intention and effort. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit – I would love to say that after I broke the 21-day mark of going to gym recently it is a habit, yet it remains an intentional conscious action every day on my part. And, so will most actions in a routine you undertake to get your day going.
Below is brief list of things I do to get my day going, some of it has to do with personal progress, some spiritual progress and other parts mental and physical health.
- Get up when my alarm goes off – put my feet on the floor, do not snooze!
- Give some thought to what you are grateful for, feel the gratitude
- Open the blinds/curtains/doors and absorb some sunlight
- Have a glass of water and eat something
- Stand in front of the mirror, say out loud what I am grateful for and smile – feeling gratitude and seeing yourself happy does more than you might believe
- Take 15min to meditate – this one is the hardest, especially when I have a hectic schedule for the day, to sit and intentionally do nothing and think of nothing
- Go to gym (if I don’t do it in the morning, I go in the late afternoon)
- Shower and tackle my day
Your reasons to take on a routine may vary from mine, but at the end of the day the routine will kick-start your focus for the day. More importantly, it does something else for you – a sense of achievement is reborn every day as you follow your routine. Ever wonder what that little sensation is when you finish a task or get something important done? It’s a hit of dopamine which is your body’s way of rewarding you for progress. Trust me, this stuff is addictive and starts to drive that desire for more dopamine which you will only get by completing more tasks throughout the day. So, find a way to get your fix, take this challenge – try it out, ease into a routine, choose what works for you and when your alarm goes off tomorrow morning, put your feet on the floor!