Do Your Routines Support Each Other?

tl;dr Don’t overcomplicate it, own your actions/reactions, customize it and focus on the end game.

You’re not going to feel inspired every day. That “We’re going to crush 2019!” excitement will die down sooner or later and there’s going to be days where you don’t feel like doing anything.

That’s okay.

What’s not okay is letting an entire day be lost to an unintentionally. The keyword there being unintentionally because everyone has reset days. The problem arises when you fall out of your routine instead of choosing to take a break.

So, how do you keep your New Years resolutions or complete your PDP’s (Personal Development Projects) when you’re feeling down?

Build routines that support each other AND your goals

Your routine should set you up for success with your goals at any given time. This inherently means it’s going to evolve over time and it isn’t going to look like a “Top 5 Things Every Billionaire Does in the Morning” article. Feel free to get ideas from them though. I like to think of it as idea quilting, take a little bit from a bunch of different “fabrics” (aka successful people) and stitch it together for a fully customized “quilt” (in this case a daily routine).

With every evolution you will become a little more in tune with yourself but (hopefully) you already have a few anchor points to your mornings and evenings like brushing your teeth, getting dressed etc. If you have a bad habit of failing to make your goals you can use these to your advantage.

I know I’m going to wake up and go to sleep, so I leave my Daily Stoic Journal on top of my glasses case. This forces me to pick it up to get my glasses. Meaning I can’t forget about it, and I’m already halfway to writing so why waste time?

Then it just cascades from there. I get the dopamine hit from marking it off in my habit tracker and want to keep going down the list. By the time I sit down at my desk I’ve gotten my exercise in, journaled, drank a glass of water and listened to a podcast.

How do you know if your routine is supporting or detracting from your goals?

1. How many moving parts do you have to think about at any one time? I’ve found that the less moving parts you have the more consistent you’re able to be. Especially if you can group things together.

If you want to read more books, drink less coffee and lose weight, for example, you can drink a glass of water while reading X number of pages every morning while doing intermittent fasting.

2. Do find yourself frustrated trying to get through your routine so you can actually work on your goals? If so, you need to change a few things. Your routine should be made up of action steps that either

A.) Get you mentally/physically ready to take on your to-do’s or
B.) Are a daily task towards a greater goal.

Filler tasks or arbitrary requirements in your routine (for me this is things like ‘journaling *must* happen at X time every day’) only hinder you in getting what matters (unloading my thoughts) done. Other things like a consistent bedtime can be incredibly helpful towards my consistency so be careful of an all or nothing approach.

You’re not always going to like it but you also shouldn’t hate it

Take personal responsibility.

If you’re consistently procrastinating or failing to do X or Z examine why. You own the outcomes of your actions, and you control your feelings about the situation. If you’re dreading it because you don’t actually care about the outcomes, stop doing it. If you dread it because you find it uncomfortable, that’s life. Success doesn’t fall into your lap. It takes a good dose of pain and sheer willpower somedays to get the results you want. BUT you can control how you feel about the journey.

How do you approach routines?