Benefits of a Daily Routine
Personally, I find having a daily routine very important; there are definitely benefits to having structure in your day-to-day life because having a plan when I wake up in the morning gives me both energy and a purpose. I know some personalities are different here - some people like to go more with the flow, and it is definitely good and nice to have days where you just go with the moment and relax but I feel great with at least a couple of consistent factors in my day.
As I have spent most of my life playing tennis, your whole life is a plan; training blocks are set in advance, what tournaments you play, then what time your match is (give or take a rain delay or two), so what time do you need to warm up etc. However, it was initially difficult when I retired to find that structure and not let the days unproductively get away from me, especially during the complete coronavirus lockdown period. To put some structure back into my days I took the following steps, and hopefully this something that could also help you:
- Set goals for each day: before you go to sleep each night, jot down 2-3 goals for the following day and a plan for what your day looks like on a piece of paper. The reason why I mention putting it down on paper is because it is a way to hold yourself more accountable and when you have completed the task you can cross it out with a marker and this brings A LOT of satisfaction :) The tasks can be very small, such as cleaning the bathroom, meeting a friend for brunch or even just calling someone that you haven’t spoken to for a while, to catch up but they help to give your day a purpose. Through this process you will realize some things you also like to do on a daily basis, and adopt them into your daily routine, that they are no longer goals but just positive habits, maybe meditating, or yoga first thing in the morning for example.
- Setting an alarm to wake up and have a bedtime: this may sound silly but if you haven’t got an alarm set for a specific meeting or appointment, set an alarm for a reasonably early time that give lot of hours in the day to do what you need, and build in exercise or some productive for yourself outside of your “normal job”.
- Daily exercise: depending on your age and the time you have available, it is really worth it to carve out at least 30 minutes/day of exercise, this can be walking the dog (my personal favorite), yoga or a full workout. Make this one of your goals every day, you can do it, it accounts for just 2% of your day and the benefits are huge!
Naturally, routines can come across as “boring” and “non-spontaneous” but you don’t have to have a military level schedule, for there to be real psychological benefits to your well-being. Having routine, tasks, and goals can alleviate stress and increase your well-being because you are going through a process of self-reflection, understanding what is important to you and how to make best use of your day and ultimately give yourself the ‘feel good factor.’ EEven though you are potentially doing more and “busier” you will find yourself to be more efficient and have more energy.
When you don’t have a routine of some sort, you can sometimes lose perspective, what you want to achieve professionally and personally and create unnecessary stress. Structure and self-achievement can be extremely satisfying and shouldn’t be underestimated for your health - in combination with having a Positive Mindset >> , this can be very powerful to your personal growth. These sorts of lifestyle changes are not something that someone can force you to do, it has to come from within yourself, and each person has to figure out what is best for them sometimes by trial and error, give it a try!