This article by Tatiana Azman originally appeared on Mindvalley.
You’re jolted awake by the ‘beep beep beep’ of your alarm clock — darn it, you’ve snoozed it 30 minutes over. Now, you’ve got to make like the Road Runner and ‘beep beep’ out the door, grabbing breakfast on the go. Still, the commute to work leaves you feeling discombobulated as you chalk it up to “Mercury must be in retrograde.” With a never-ending list of to-do’s at work, you’re already over it… All of it.
How do you get out of this stinkin’ rut? Two words: daily routine.
Oftentimes, 24 hours in a day can leave you hanging like, “where in the world did the day go?” However, creating a daily routine can lead you to a healthier, calmer life, even if you’re busy AF.
Here’s where you can start:
- The Power of a Daily Routine
- The Downsides to a Daily Routine
- How to Build a Personalized Daily Routine
Like popping in a protein ball on a busy day, the right daily routine can re-energize you and get your head in the game. So here’s to a healthier, calmer, and higher-achieving you. Ching ching.
The Power of a Daily Routine
Take a look at some of the most successful people in the world — they all are known to have successful daily routines filled with high-performance habits.
Richard Branson exercises and has breakfast with his family every day. Marie Kondo lets in fresh air first thing when she wakes up and burns incense to ensure clear energy in her home. Oprah Winfrey’s morning routine consists of brushing her teeth, walking her dogs, and reading five cards from her 365 Gathered Truths box.
But what makes a routine a routine? And how does it differ from forming a habit?
Habits and routines: what are the differences?
They’re both used interchangeably, but there are some major differences between a habit and a routine.
- Habits are things you do with little or no conscious thought. Doing breathwork when you’re stressed, drinking lemon water, and making your bed in the morning are examples of healthy habits. But there are also unhealthy ones, like texting while driving, smoking cigarettes, or biting your nails.
- Routines are a series of habits or actions that are frequently repeated. Waking up at 6 a.m. daily and doing the 6 Phase Meditation is a routine. Grabbing a cup of joe from your local café on your daily commute to work is a routine. Brushing your teeth and flossing every night before bed is a routine.
There’s such a huge emphasis on developing good habits. And with good reason – it turns out that creating a daily routine out of these habits can tremendously benefit your overall well-being.
Benefits of a daily routine, according to science
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” goes the expression. While it indicates that this particular fruit is good for our health, it also highlights the importance of eating them every day, thus, forming a healthy daily routine.
The question now is, how does it contribute to our well-being? Here are three research looking into aspects of that question:
- Researchers of a 2016 study explored how daily routine impacts childhood development. They surveyed 292 undergraduate students who were asked to rate the regularity (as opposed to frequency) of various activities and routines during childhood and adolescence.
Their findings suggest that when children know what to expect daily, they’re more likely to have a sense of stability. In turn, it reduces the experience of attention difficulties in their adulthood.
- A 2018 study examined how being active during the day and sleeping at night can benefit one’s mental health. The results found this simple daily routine is linked to improved mood and cognitive functioning and decreased chances of developing major depression and bipolar disorder.
We know a good night’s sleep is highly advised for well-being and health. According to Dr. Daniel Smtih, one of the study’s lead authors, in an interview with CNN, what’s less known is that “having a regular rhythm of being active in daylight and inactive in darkness over time is important for mental well-being.”
- Another study looked at the association between having a daily routine and the health status of older adults. The results showed those with low levels of daily routine reported worse physical function, more anxiety, and depressive symptoms than those with greater daily routine.
So the ideal daily routine can bring out the best in us. But to play devil’s advocate, let’s look at the possible downsides of having a rigid schedule.
The Downsides to a Daily Routine
A proper morning routine can absolutely change your life, but doing so without mindfulness can straight up backfire on you. Here are a few cons to this practice:
#1: The unpredictability of life can get in the way
If you become dependent on predictability, it can challenge your ability to be adaptable. Let’s say your routine is to wake up at 6 a.m. every morning. But what happens if you accidentally overslept?
We’re all familiar with the feeling of our day being thrown off when one thing doesn’t go as planned. So being flexible is just a vital component of life as having a daily routine.
#2: There’s boredom and monotony with being on autopilot
Starting a routine can be exciting and fun. Eventually, you’ll hit a plateau or something called hedonic adaptation — the natural tendency to return to our set points following major life events, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
Your routine will feel somewhat like Groundhog’s Day. And when you’re in the “same sh*t, different day” mode, boredom ensues.
#3: Your personal growth comes to a standstill
While habitual behavior can give you a sense of security, it can also lead you to be less mindful and unchallenged. Your creativity and inspiration might see a decline.
Additionally, it may close you off to your sense of awe, curiosity, and excitement, leading to a disconnect between yourself and your immediate experience. In turn, your personal transformation can become stunted.
#4: Not all routines are good for you
We do talk about good daily routines, but there can also be ones that are detrimental to your health.
For example, checking your office email when you wake up and replying to them into the wee hours of the night. This can cause work anxiety and lead you down a path of unhealthy habits, like fidgeting, binge eating, procrastination, and so on.
#5: It requires effort
Habits are triggered by cues – the smell of confectionary from your neighborhood bakery is a cue to grab a donut or the flush of the toilet is a cue to wash your hands. There is minimal to no effort required.
Routines, on the other hand, require deliberate practice. For example, making a pot of coffee every morning or going to the bathroom before heading to bed at night. While a conscious effort isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is best to remember that hard work always pays off.
Though there are downsides to having a daily routine, the benefits greatly outweigh the disadvantages.
Extraordinary people, like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, and even Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, didn’t get to where they are because they’re gifted. They got there because they cultivated habits that helped them become successful.
And adopting a successful and healthy one really depends on your intention to put in the effort, no matter how busy AF you are.
How to Build a Personalized Daily Routine
“But I’ve got my family…I’ve got work commitments…I…I…”
It’s for one hour.
Your loved ones will give you that time. And are you at work constantly? It’s just one out of 16 hours (assuming they’re letting you sleep). That’s 6.25% of your waking life.
Even if you’re so devoted to your commitments that you can’t find one uninterrupted hour, you can break it down.
You can meditate when you wake up. Do energy healing on the train. Journal using your hands-free kit. Take your supplements with breakfast. Do your Quest while cooking. Use Mindvalley’s 10X system to exercise in less than 15 minutes.
The options are there for you. And “I don’t have time” is no longer an excuse.
#1: When it comes to your mind
The topic of the mind is as common nowadays as bread. It’s at the tip of everyone’s conversation and can be found being discussed in every culture.
And it makes sense too because the pandemic totally did a number on our mental health. So in comes all these practices to get us from a mindset that’s fixed to one of growth.
It’s about being in the moment, conscious of where you are and what you’re doing. From mindfulness to meditation, from creative thinking to reading upside down, from hydrating to learning a new skill…the list is endless.
Try this in your daily routine: meditate
Mindfulness often goes hand-in-hand with meditation — a practice that has, as the kids nowadays say, ‘gone viral.’ It’s not a practice just for hippies (as it was back in the day). Now, it’s for everyone.
Its benefits are well-known, helping you to be less reactive, more tolerant, calmer, and more compassionate. And because humans, by nature, like having choices, the types of meditation (or ‘transcendent practices’ as Vishen prefers to call it) to choose from are aplenty.
Despite all this, why isn’t everyone practicing it?
The myth is that meditation is about stopping your thoughts or focusing on your breath. It gets boring quickly. Plus, to get the benefits of meditation, you have to spend a long time being bored, right? Wrong.
This is where the 6 Phase Meditation comes in. And if you do it right, you can get the impact of a two-hour meditation session in just under 20 minutes.
[The 6 Phase Meditation] is a state of being that is possible for everyone.— Vishen, founder of Mindvalley
Vishen, being Vishen, compiled and condensed six of the most effective transcendental techniques and combined them into his famous 6 Phase Meditation. You can check out this transcendent practice at Mindvalley. Or if you really want to understand the science of it all, you can buy it in book form.
#2: When it comes to your body
The impact on your overall health is undeniable. And everybody should know about the benefits of exercise by now. (Maybe not to the extent of fitness experts, like the head of health and fitness of Mindvalley, Ronan Diego, but at least the basics.)
Humans never evolved to be the sedentary species we’ve become. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be out running marathons every day or spending hours upon hours in the gym.
A lot of people might think that 15 minutes of exercise is nowhere near enough. But with the human body’s ability to adapt, a range of minimum effective dose exercise protocols will yield impressive results in a fraction of the time.
Try this in your daily routine: exercise
Mindvalley’s 10X Quest (included in all member’s accounts) is the perfect daily workout routine for achieving an aesthetically pleasing, extremely healthy, and well-functioning body. Timing-wise? In as little as two 15-minute workouts per week.
The main idea here is that whenever you impose a challenge on your body, your body will adapt until that is no longer a challenge. And so then, you need to level up the challenge to keep getting more adaptations.— Ronan De Oliveira, Mindvalley’s head of health and fitness
Over time, you can expect a drastic change in body composition and shape as you eliminate body fat and increase muscle mass. If you’re interested in learning more about 10x and how it compares to YouTube workouts, check out the video with Ronan Diego, trainer of the 10X Quest.
#3: When it comes to your soul
Much like meditation, energy work is increasingly widely accepted in western developed nations. Whether it’s qigong, energy medicine, chakra healing, or any of the many, many practices available, spend some time every day acknowledging and cultivating this esoteric dimension of your being.
When all your energies are brought into harmony, your body flourishes. And when your body flourishes, your soul has a soil in which it can blossom in the world.— Donna Eden, trainer of Mindvalley’s Energy Medicine Quest
The more time you can afford to work on this area, the more benefits you’ll gain. Even a few minutes circulating your energy or balancing your chakras will deliver noticeable changes in your overall health and general vitality.
Try this in your daily routine: energy healing
“But…I don’t know anything about energy.”
If you haven’t adopted an energetic practice of your own yet, here are a few articles to help familiarize yourself with it:
- Qigong for Beginners: Mastering Your Physical and Mental Self
- This Is How Energy Healing Can Transform Your Life
- The Complete Guide to the 7 Chakras – For Beginners
And as a Mindvalley Member, we seriously spoil you in this category. You can explore the different energy programs and see which style you most resonate with.
Take in a lesson a day – most are around the 20-minute range. They’re created in bite-size so that the information is easier to absorb and it can perfectly fit into your hour-long daily routine.
For a quick introduction to the realm of energy, have a peep at this video from Mindvalley’s A-Fest, where energy healers Donna and David Eden do an energy medicine demonstration with an audience member and explain the science behind what’s happening.
#4: When it comes to your relationships
Humans are social creatures. We seek connections to feel worthy and feel that we belong.
Like a gadget to electricity, we’re alive when we surround ourselves with good people. Whether it’s our lover, family, children, friends, co-workers, or neighbor Larry, there’s no denying that strong bonds help shape who we are and how we view life.
The purpose of relationships is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
An article by the American Psychological Association links the power of relationships leads to better physical and mental health. It reports that “strong social relations increase the likelihood of survival by 50% regardless of age, sex, or health status.”
That’s why Mindvalley puts a strong emphasis on connections — it’s an ‘aging gracefully’ treatment. The Tribe is a community of educators, employees, and tribe members like you who have dedicated their lives to helping themselves and others achieve the ultimate in personal transformation.
Try this in your daily routine: connections
Forget the small talk; focus on the connection. As a Member of Mindvalley, the Tribe will always have your back.
You can head over to Connections in the Mindvalley App and spend a few minutes discussing Quest lessons with other students. Or arrange for a meet-up with those living in your area code.
“But I don’t like to socialize.”
We get that. So here are some great tips from relationship experts on The Mindvalley Podcast to get you started:
- This Is the Secret to a Healthy Relationship with Sheleana Aiyana
- Why You’ll Never Achieve Anything Alone with Keith Ferrazzi
- The Real Reason You Aren’t Finding True Love with Katherine Woodward Thomas
Relationships are like plants. The more we nurture them and understand how they work, the more we can grow from them.
#5: When it comes to your work
Mantras aren’t all about mindfulness and the Om. When it comes to working, the mantras are “living for the weekend” or “work is just a paycheck.” (Admittedly, they’re a mouthful and don’t give the same vibrational healing as Om does.)
Most employees don’t find their work meaningful, according to the 2022 Gallup Report, State of the Global Workplace, with only 21% being engaged at work. What’s more, working women in North America are reported to be among the most stressed employees in the world.
Find work that sets your soul on fire. Find work that helps others and swells your heart. When work feels like play, you know you’ve found the right path.— Vishen, founder of Mindvalley
“But I don’t know what to do with my career…”
It might just be that you lack the qualifications, are scared to try new things, fear failure, lack guidance, or have been convinced by the culturescape that you really wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer…
Try this in your daily routine: journaling
One major thing the Gallup Report points out is that “employee wellbeing is the new workplace imperative.” And when it comes to well-being, it’s all about looking internally.
An incredibly powerful way to do that is to start journaling, so you can find out what truly excites you. And when you do this practice, two fundamental things happen:
- It lets you get thoughts out of your head — it’s a bit like closing down a few of the windows on your desktop. You’re freeing up RAM to work on what’s really important.
- It ingrains and encodes information in multiple modalities of learning. Okay, so that’s a bit of a mouthful, but it basically means that your brain can better store, retain, and process information when you write things down.
If your Hello Kitty journal is full, or you want to take journaling into the 21st Century, consider using Mindvalley Insights. With Insights, you can attach your thoughts to books, websites, Mindvalley Quests, and other digital objects and share them with the world.
If you want to journal privately, you can, but using Insights, you can subscribe to the brains of others and they to yours. Imagine if Da Vinci, Edison, et al. were on Quora, and you’re getting somewhere close.
#6: When it comes to your performance
This is probably one of the simplest things to add to your daily routine, and depending on your physiology, it could have a massive impact on virtually every aspect of life.
Your health is far more up to you than it is to your doctor.— Eric Edmeades, trainer of Mindvalley’s WILDFIT Quest
Whether it’s 5HTP, EPA, DHP, or CBD, there’s no shortage of sexy-sounding abbreviations on the market that can have genuinely revolutionary health benefits for some people.
Supplements are beneficial if you have a particular nutrient deficiency, and it’s well worth consulting a dietary analysis service like Viome (created by futurist visionary and trainer of Mindvalley’s The Power of Boldness Quest, Naveen Jain) which analyzes stool samples to give you a detailed breakdown of any areas your lacking and what to do about it.
Try this in your daily routine: supplements
If you haven’t got the funds for that, try a bit of self-biohacking. Take a look at the basic supplements and see if it works for you. Try to add some element of control over the variables, i.e., try one at a time, so you can see what makes the difference.
Don’t just start taking every supplement under the sun at once (but speaking of the sun, maybe start with Vitamin D, since almost everyone is deficient in that in this day and age).
An Hour a Day
Remember the tortoise and the hare? The moral of that story was that slow and steady wins the race. While that may have been true in Aesop’s time, the world moves faster now. Speedy AND steady is what wins the race today.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend more time on things if you want. Nothing is stopping you.
If you love to exercise and spend a couple of hours every day doing so, continue by all means. If you love to meditate for hours on end, great! If you want to binge-watch an entire Mindvalley Quest in a weekend, awesome.
The point is to demonstrate that even if you’re busy AF, there are speedy and optimal ways to work on yourself, just a little, every day, no matter what it is you want to improve. And when you find time to work on all these dimensions daily, that’s when life can really take off for you.
So no more buts.
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