Routine gets a bad rap. It can come across as stifling and limiting, but in reality, a routine can be liberating. Routines help eliminate decision fatigue, freeing up mental space for more creativity while reducing stress (and increasing happiness). The best part is, you get to design your routine so that it suits your lifestyle, your goals, and your personal preferences.
Here are our tips for falling in love with your routine this August.
Step 1: figure out where you want to go.
Get out your notebook and divide the paper into four quadrants: one for your physical goals, one for your mental goals, one for your interpersonal goals, and one for your professional goals. Jot down anything you want to work on. Focus on specific controllable goals like attending a yoga class twice each week, taking a weekend trip with friends four times a year, reading one book per month, or growing some aspect of your career with measurable benchmarks.
Pro Tip: focus on the action, not the result, because, ya know, life is a highway.
Versus setting goals that have a finish line, set ongoing goals that bring you joy. Think about your goal setting as a way to establish a routine you love, rather than assigning yourself tasks that feel like payment for a reward.
Step 2: figure out how to get there.
Ask yourself what obstacles you are facing that may inhibit you from establishing a routine you love. Now look for the solution. This might entail coordinating with your partner for childcare or eliminating tasks from your schedule that do not serve your goals (for example scrolling on social media vs reading in the mornings, or getting carry-out dinner rather than planning a wholesome meal). Try to think of ways to make the things you want to do easier and the things you want to avoid harder.
Pro Tip: design your path of least resistance.
Sean Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, tells a story about wanting to make a habit of playing his guitar. He made a commitment to play every day for 21 days but he failed to establish this habit because his guitar was stored in a closet. Getting the guitar from the closet only added about 20 seconds of inconvenience to the task, but it was enough to deter him at the end of a long workday. He decided to move the guitar to a guitar stand in his living room, where it would be within reach. With this simple change, he successfully practiced the guitar every day for 21 days (which is about halfway to making it an automatic habit).
Step 3: celebrate your progress.
Set aside some time each week to assess your progress. Sundays, for example, might be a great time to sit down and makes some notes on what is going well and what you could improve on. While you're at it, envision a few personal growth celebrations. Not all goals will have a celebratory finale like a 5k race or a yoga retreat, but many do! Figure out how you'll celebrate your victories along the way and keep striving to live the life you want to live.
Pro Tip: share the love.
Be inspired and inspire others by sharing your progress! Have you cooked 10 new adventurous meals this month? Brag on it and share the recipes. Have you been meditating every morning for 10 minutes before starting your day? Tell your friends how it has affected your focus. Sharing with our loved ones is a great way to celebrate our personal victories.
We hope you spend this month choosing a lifestyle that makes you feel happy, strong, and free!