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I am inspired by the accomplishments of successful people. I believe that is a common experience. Most people who have big goals are inspired by someone successful in their field of endeavor. It makes sense to learn from the wisdom of someone who has accomplished something that you aspire to do.

In countless interviews, a common theme that successful people from every field relate is the importance of a daily routine. Achieving goals does not happen with intentional effort. However, top performers talk much less about a to do list and more about daily routines.

Successful people leverage the power of habit to create routines that achieve positive results. If you know where you want to go in life or business, you can engineer the routines that will help you reach that goal.

This article will explain a simple process you can follow to develop a healthy daily routine.

What is a Daily Routine?

A daily routine is a collection of habits.

If you examine what regularly shows up on your daily schedule, you might be surprised that you already have a daily routine. You have a few things that you repeat on a daily basis that either help (good habits) or hurt (bad habits) your overall happiness and productivity.

For example, if the first thing you do in the morning is to check your email or scroll social media, then it is part of your daily routine. On the other hand, if you wake up, grab your water bottle, and do some exercise, then that is part of your daily routine.

Choose your habits well, and your day will be filled with healthy routines that make you more productive and help you live a happier life.

When someone inspires you, there might be a temptation to simply copy their daily routine. However, what works for someone else will not necessarily work the same way for you. The best advice is to develop your own personalized daily routine.

Consistency Makes Hard Work Pay Off

Habits produce results because of consistency.

Imagine you set a goal to lose weight. The habit you choose is to go to a gym and follow a training plan. The first day of your mission goes as planned. You wake up early, go to the gym, and you crush a grueling workout. You feel great about your accomplishment until you look in the mirror. It appears that nothing has changed. You repeat this scenario the second day, the third day, and so on. Each day, the mirror seems to tell you that you have not experienced any significant change.

The key is to be consistent. If you stay committed to your new habit, then in time you will see the change. You will lose weight, build muscle, sleep better at night, have increased energy levels during the day, and feel better about how you look in the mirror. It happens because you stay consistent.

Get Connected To Why You Need A Daily Routine

The hard work it takes to be consistent in developing life changing habits causes some people to give up. The way to power through the difficult days is to connect your commitment to you why.

In his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, author Simon Sinek says, ¨There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.¨ When you know why you are doing something, you can persevere, even if it is challenging.

1. The Power of 1440

Time is the most precious commodity that exists. Solid routines keep you on track for spending time wisely.

Every person has the same amount of time each day. Regardless of your wealth, social or economic status, age, gender, or orientation, every person has the same 1,440 minutes each day. The difference between success and failure is how much you value your time and how you choose to use it. If you spend time wisely, you reap the benefits.

Kevin Kruse, serial entrepreneur, and bestselling author wrote about the value of time in his book, ¨15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs¨. He writes that he printed a big 1440 on a piece of paper and taped it to his office door. It was to remind him about the value of time and how he needed to ¨invest¨ each minute of his day wisely.

2. Daily Routines Help You Stop Procrastinating And Overcome Distractions

One of the biggest obstacles to becoming your best self is the ability to overcome distractions. Time and attention are two of your most valuable assets.

If you were building the perfect daily routine for success you might include things such as drinking water, exercising, eating a good breakfast, or repeating positive affirmations. You would not plan to ¨mindlessly scroll social media for 45 minutes before I get out of bed.¨ However, many productive people fall into that trap. Some scroll social media as if it was scripted into their daily routine.

A daily routine overcomes distraction by making you intentional about your morning routine and everything else you do as you go through your day. Your routine helps you say no to distractions by saying yes to positive behaviors. Building the perfect daily routine is defined by choosing your ¨Yes¨ and your ¨No¨ with intention and purpose.

3. Daily Routines Help You Accomplish Your Goals

To accomplish a big goal, you need more than a to-do list. You need create good habits that support the behaviors that you need to achieve your goals. A healthy routine works with you to get your most important tasks done each day.

One of my priorities in life is health and fitness. I found that if I exercise first thing in the morning, it improves my energy levels throughout the day. Physical activity (like a brisk walk) can help you avoid weight gain, but it can also improve your mental energy. It is way to increase your productivity and be the best version of yourself.

Prepare The Night Before

I knew that success would take more than setting the alarm for 6 a.m. To help me achieve that goal I needed to build it into my daily routine.

First, I set out my clothes for the workout at night before I went to bed. I also made a list of the exercises I wanted to do the next day. I exercise at home, so I set out the equipment I planned to use, and I prepared the physical space.

I knew that the early morning version of myself would not be able to overcome the resistance of doing all the preparation. I would stay in bed and skip the workout. By creating a routine in the evening to prepare for the morning routine, I set myself up for success.

Your habits and routines reinforce your self-discipline to help you accomplish your goals.

4. Daily Routines Multiply Your Productivity

Tony Robbins, considered by many to be the world’s leading life and business strategist, recognizes the importance of building habits and establishing routines. Tony says that habits put our brains on autopilot. It frees us up our minds to concentrate on bigger things.

Your subconscious mind is always working. If there are too many open loops in your mind, it becomes difficult to focus on the most important things. If your mind needs to switch gears continually, then you will lack the focus you need to do your best work on the important tasks.

Try The Brain Dump Method To Clear Your Subconscious Mind

One habit you can practice on a regular basis is to do a brain dump (GTD style). Write down everything that has your attention and get it out of your mind. Next, identify which activities you can accomplish by incorporating them into your daily routine. Build habits around positive things that will improve your life.

Build Your Healthy Daily Routine One Step At A Time

Routines do not need to be complicated or overwhelming. Start small and improve over time.

Every marginal improvement you make in your process can yield big results. The more manageable the task, the higher probability for results. Small incremental steps is the road to success in building a happier more productive life.

According to the wisdom of Admiral McRaven, you can start with something as small as making your bed first thing in the morning.

In a commencement speech delivered in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral William H. McRaven, Navy Seal and former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, shared the wisdom of the habit of making your bed in the morning.

Benefits of Making Your Bed
  • You will have accomplished the first task of the day
  • You will have a small sense or pride in your accomplishment
  • It will encourage you to do another task
  • It will reinforce to you that the little things in life matter

He adds that if you can’t do the little things right, then you will never do the big things right. It is okay to start small. The best habit is the one that you complete.

Example of Daily Routines

Consider some of the following examples for ways to build basic routines that can make a big difference in the quality of your life.

1. Morning Routine

The morning routine is a great place to start. What you do first thing in the morning sets you up to have a successful day. Use the early hours of the day to implement good habits and start your day on a positive note.

Suggestions For A Morning Routine
  • Drink water
  • Eat breakfast
  • Exercise
  • Read
  • Mediate or pray
  • Make your bed in the morning (We are with you on this one Admiral McRaven)

2. Workday Routine

How you work throughout the day might depend on a lot variables you cannot control. Still, there are ways to incorporate routines that will improve your productivity.

Try this to put your workday on productivity autopilot

The same principles apply if you work in an office, do remote work, or have a side business.

3. Bedtime routine

If you wake up in the morning feeling tired, it is a sign that you are not getting enough sleep. Creating a solid routine to help you fall asleep and get more rest can help you make friends with the alarm clock and start your day with more energy.

Start by deciding what time you want to wake up. Subtract 7-9 hours for a quality sleep, and then you will know what time you need to go to bed.

Suggestions for improving the quality of your sleep
  • Choose the hour for your bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day
  • Eliminate ¨screens¨ with blue light (30 to 45 minutes before sleep)
  • Practice meditation
  • Drink tea
  • Take a warm bath
  • Keep the bedroom dark and slightly cool

Creating Routines For a Happy Productive Life

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” 

Ideally, you will have routines built around multiple domains of your life. Think about the routines that could improve your relationships, emotional health, physical health, sleep, leadership, and productivity.

Follow this simple exercise to determine where you should start building the routines that will make you more productive and help you live a happier life.

Build A Bulletproof Daily Routine Exercise

Ask yourself, ¨What are five things that if I do them every day, they will improve…¨

  • My physical health
  • My emotional health
  • My sleep
  • My relationships
  • My leadership
  • My productivity
  • Any other important life domain

After you write a list of five things for each category, choose just one as a place to start.

How To Start A Daily Routine Tomorrow

After completing the Build a Bulletproof Daily Routine exercise, choose just one item that you can do when you wake up in the morning. Do one exercise, drink one glass of water, read one chapter from a book, or meditate for just 1 minute.

Now write it down. Make a commitment start one good habit that will become a part of your daily routine.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.


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