How to Change Your Routine to Improve Your Life

We All Have Routines, but are your Habits Benefiting you?


We All Have Routines, but are Your Habits Benefiting You?

When it comes to routines, we all have them whether we recognize them or not.

  • Getting up at the same time each morning.
  • Eating breakfast and lunch at the same time each day.
  • Checking your email after you get out of bed and before you go to bed.
  • Watching TV for a certain amount of time every night to decompress from your day.
  • Wasting time on social media.

Routines can be beneficial, but they can also cause you to feel stuck. More accurately, they can cause you to unnecessarily struggle when your routine is not benefiting you.

In this article, you will find six ways to help you change your routine. Plus, tips for sticking to it and staying motivated.

Side note: If you’re like me, you may think you hate routines. Yep, that was my belief system until it was challenged by this tiny virus that caused the whole world to stay home. I talk more about it in this article — Are your Routines Helpful or Hurtful?

How Can Changing your Routine Help You?

Changing your routine can help you break out of your funk and find new ways to approach old problems. It can also help you discover new passions and interests.

When you’re constantly doing the same things, you tend to get stuck in a rut. But by shaking up your routine, you create space to welcome new ideas to improve your routine. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you successfully change your routine.

Tips to Help You be Successful

1) Get curious.

We all have habits that we would like to change, but it can be challenging to identify the specific factors that contribute to our bad habits. As you get curious about your regular habits, be sure to do so without judgment. This is simply an exercise in taking stalk in what you do; it is not a time to get mad at yourself.

To help you successfully change your routines, it’s essential to be aware of the trends in your habits. By taking a closer look at your daily routine, you can start to see patterns that might be preventing you from making progress and achieving your goals.

As you know, there are a lot of things that we do without consciously thinking about it. For example, checking your phone immediately when you wake up or stopping everything you’re doing if an email comes through (even if it isn’t important). You might even take off your bra as soon as you get home. It’s little things like that.

These subconscious habits can be helpful in some ways, but they can also be harmful because they can lead to stagnation or regression. Creating awareness of them can help you to identify the areas to improve. And, possibly help you form ideas for creating new habits to help change your routine.

To get started, list out all of the things you do daily. Once you have a comprehensive list, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the tasks that I really don’t enjoy doing, but I do them anyway? Can any of those tasks be removed from my to-do list or delegated?
  • What are the things that I do without thinking about, but aren’t helping me reach my goals?
    • Think of busy tasks that don’t actually move the needle forward. Such as posting on Instagram when it sucks the life out of you, and your web traffic primarily comes from Facebook and organic searches. An oddly specific example, I know. LOL
  • What could I be doing instead of these things?
    • Do you have goals you’d love to accomplish but feel as though you don’t have enough time?

2) Dream list.

Make a list of things that you would like to do. It can be anything, from trying a new hobby to traveling to a new place. This list is to help you dream about where you’d like to be in the future to ensure your routine includes steps to get you closer to your dreams.

Many people never take any steps, let alone the necessary steps, toward their dreams. They get bogged down in the day-to-day responsibilities of life and never allow themselves to think about what they really want out of life. They never give themselves a chance to dream. If this is you, don’t worry or get upset about it. You are not alone. The author of the article has been on this hampster wheel before.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to take action. You have to start moving toward them, even if it’s just a small step at first. Every journey begins with a single step, and if you keep taking steps toward your dreams, you’ll eventually reach them.

“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Rob Siltanen

3) Break the cycle.

Habits are often hard to break, but they can also be hard to start. That’s because they’re usually based on something that we’ve done many times before. And, as we all know, repetition can be a powerful thing.

Now that you have figured out what habits you do daily, you can work on replacing old habits with new ones. This will take time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Here are some ideas to help you swap habits:

  • Cut back on scrolling through social media and use that time to stretch, do yoga, or meditate.
    • If you need to bridge the gap from one to the other, read that social media post while in a downward dog pose.
  • Instead of picking up your phone first thing in the morning, reach for a journal and write down three gratitudes or make a list of things you’d like to manifest in your life.
  • Ditch TV one night a week and spend that time learning a new hobby or focusing on creating a new habit.

As you think about ways to break the cycle, don’t think you need to do everything all at once. It’s essential to keep your changes small.

4) Small steps.

If you’re not taking any steps toward your dreams, you’re doing yourself a disservice. However, trying to do too much at once can be overwhelming and cause you to give up prematurely. Therefore, it is best to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps.

That may be easier said than done. It can be hard to know where to start when making changes in your life. It’s tempting to try to do too much or to set your goals too high, and then give up when you don’t meet them. But small steps are the key to making lasting change.

The small steps you incorporate into your routine should make you feel better. Maybe this means taking a walk outside for a few minutes each day or spending a few minutes reading before bed. It could include writing in your journal or doing a few yoga poses before going to sleep.

Think of things that can be done in 5-10 minutes. You don’t have to read a full chapter of that book. Just as you don’t have to do a whole 30-minute yoga routine. Break it down into small steps!

5) Incorporate new habits.

There are a lot of things you can do to change up your daily routine after you’ve gotten curious. One way to start is by picking a different activity to do every day for a week. This can be something as simple as reading a book, going for a walk, or cooking a new dish. If doing it every day for a week is too much, pick a day when you know your schedule is lighter or you have more downtime. Then, try and incorporate your new habit into that timeframe.

Hint: This is far more sustainable if you pick things that can be done in 5-10 minutes.

After you’ve tried out a bunch of different activities, pick the one you enjoyed the most and work on making it a regular part of your routine. Once you’ve found something you enjoy, you may consider making it even more interesting so you don’t get bored of doing the same thing over and over again. For example, if the new activity you enjoyed the most was walking, consider new ways of doing it. Could you keep it interesting by going on a walk with a friend? Or, select a new place to walk once a week? Try walking after work or while waiting for your kids to get out of school.

6) Track your habits.

This will help you to have an objective view of your progress in implementing your new routine.

There are many different ways to track your habits. A few popular methods include using an app on your phone to track your habits. To set yourself up for tracking success, make sure you are using a tool that is easily accessible. The goal is to reduce barriers to completing the task as little as possible.

By tracking your habits, you can hold yourself accountable and see your progress over time. It can also help you to identify trends in your habits to help you pinpoint factors that cause you to stall or take a step back. If you miss a day or two (or a week or two), don’t get upset. Simply pick back up where you left off!

One of my favorite apps to use for habit tracking is Daylio (not sponsored). It is great because it provides weekly, monthly, and yearly summaries. You can also customize it to include habits you want to track — not some generic tasks that are of no interest to you. And, it has gamification elements to encourage you to use it.

Warning: If you use a brand new bullet journal to track your habits, but you’ve never used it before, you will not be successful. You’d be making this task more difficult than it needs to be. Especially if you haven’t consistently used a notebook or bullet journal in the past. Or, if you tend to misplace things.

Tips for Sticking to Your New Routine

The first tip is to make your routine as easy as possible to stick to. If it’s difficult or takes a lot of time, you’re more likely to give up on it. Try to make your routine something that you can do quickly and without a lot of effort.

Second, focus on one thing at a time. After you’ve mastered that one thing, then you can try something new. This way, you are setting yourself up for success. And, you are not juggling several new habits.

Next, find a friend or accountability partner who can encourage you when you feel discouraged.

Pro-tip: Find someone who is also looking to implement a new routine in their life, this way you can encourage one another.

Third, create a reward for yourself. Having a goal can help you to stay on task. When you have a goal to look forward to, it can make the journey more enjoyable. You don’t just have to think about your goal in terms of the end result, but also in terms of all the steps you’ll need to take to get there. This way, you can break your goal down into manageable chunks and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. (<<This is a secret to success right here!)

Fourth, check in with yourself. When you start with your new habit, write down how you feel and why you are changing your habit. As you move through milestones, such as weekly or monthly check-ins, you will have a better idea of how far you’ve come. We often forget just how bad things were for our former selves. This causes us to downplay all the progress we’ve made. In some cases, it means you take your new habit for granted or fail to realize the new habit has genuinely had a positive impact on your life.

Fifth is persistence. You have to keep pushing forward. Even in the face of failure, continue to strive for change. You embarked on this journey for a reason. Many people will say that it takes 30 days to form a new habit. It’s bullshit. First of all, if you read research on behavior change, it can take up to 6 months for a new habit to stick. Second, trying to do something perfectly for 30 days straight kinda sets you up for failure. Very rarely can people execute a new habit every day for 30 days.

Staying Motivated

It’s important to have a positive attitude and stay motivated. This can be difficult when you’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed, but it’s crucial to keep pushing forward. Remember that it’s okay to take breaks and relax, or skip a day when you just aren’t able to do the thing.

You will also want to remember why you started in the first place. Perhaps you decided to start a new routine because you recognized your previous habits were not supporting the life you desired. Or, you haven’t really ever had a reliable routine, but recognized the importance of having one. Whatever your reason, remembering your why will help keep you motivated during tough times.

Bring it to a Close

Routine is an important part of our lives. It helps us to be productive and efficient. But sometimes, our routine doesn’t always help us to live the life we desire. Hopefully, this article will help you to jumpstart changing your habits, so you feel more confident in your routine.

So, let us know. Are you going to change your routine? If you have, what has worked for you? Share in the comments below.

Tell us what you think