The Benefits Of Following A Routine

Creating and implementing a routine, whether it is on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, is one of the most important tools and coping mechanisms that we can do in order to promote a healthy well being.  So what exactly is a routine? Routines are healthy behaviors or activities that we consciously engage in over and over again to the extent that it becomes a habit. We tend to engage in these activities because we find them to be enjoyable or to have a positive impact on our lives in some way.  Examples of routines include exercise, showering/grooming, meals and eating habits, social interactions/contact, reading, journaling, cleaning, etc.

Routines have a cumulative effect in that the single occurrence of one behavior or activity may seem small however over time, the benefits are significant.  Routines help to promote organization and structure to our days, which can provide us with a sense of control, familiarity, and stability in our lives.  With routine we can anticipate what we can expect to some degree, which promotes a sense of direction.  Stressful times can bring chaos and feeling out of control however continuing to implement a routine can make these trying times more manageable. 

Like most activities or skills that requires practice, building healthy routines can take time however once mastered, our ability to become more efficient with our time takes place.  These behaviors and activities become automatic and eventually we can engage in habits without having to think about it, making us better at managing our days.  The increase in proficiency with routines also makes it less likely for us to feel like we have to rely on our motivation or determination to get something done.

Incorporating routines into our lives also results in a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis and helps to build our self-esteem and self-worth.  Confidence in our ability to complete tasks that may seem daunting increases and we can alter our core beliefs about our capabilities. 

Some other benefits of routines include balanced self-care, higher quality of sleep, and a decrease in physical or mental illness.  Some of the most successful individuals have shared tips that they believe contribute to their achievements and following a routine is almost always included.  For individuals who are looking to create a routine, consider starting with just one activity or behavior that will be realistic and achievable to engage in on a regular basis.  

~ Cory Stege, M.S., LMFT