When people think of routine, they are often thinking about “being stuck in one”.
Since the term routine implies doing the same actions over and over again, it makes sense that people might view it negatively. People want excitement and spontaneity not the “same ol, same ol”.
Routine doesn’t have to be boring though. Routine can actually be powerful. And for autistic women or women with ADHD? A routine can be downright necessary.
Harnessed in the right way a solid routine can propel you towards your goals. It might not be hair-raising excitement, but striving towards and reaching goals is far from boring.
The best part about routines is they don’t have to be massive changes in your life.
Since a routine is simply a set of actions done repeatedly, it is more important to be consistent than it is be monumental. It is the cumulative effects of routine that matter most – not the single action taken.
This is important because sometimes we can be intimidated by wholesale changes. Some people never really take a stab at meaningful success because the idea of change is too overwhelming. By creating simple small routines, you circumvent that fear. You are starting small, just tweaking your day a bit, and all of a sudden you will notice your life is starting to take shape.
It doesn’t happen in a few days or a few weeks – but if you stay committed it DOES happen.
You might even wonder if they are important enough to even help you. But like most routines, they will be deceivingly helpful in your life.
They might not make you a millionaire, they might not make you famous, but they will certainly help lay the groundwork for the future, more successful version of yourself!
10 “Life Changing” Habits that Can Become Routines
If you are anything like me, you might find the idea of meditation a little bit corny.
Hey, that is fine!
In fact, there are legitimate concerns you may be having…
- Youtube is flooded with cheesy meditations that are basically ads for subpar products.
- There is a certain aesthetic that is stereotypically aligned with meditation.
- There are spiritual angles that just might not work for you.
Don’t overthink it though. Meditation is simply a tool that anyone can use. You don’t even have to think of it as meditation if you have some sort of hang-up. You don’t even need any elaborate set up.
Every morning when you wake up, just stay where you are laying and try to clear your mind. Do some deep, controlled breathing. Simply stay there in the moment.
If you feel up to it, visualize your ideal day. Think about what you are going to do that day, what you will accomplish and how it will make you feel. That’s it.
Commit to doing this everyday. As you get used to it, you may want to expand the practice a bit and get more formal about it, but don’t worry about that yet. Just start like I detailed above and it won’t be long until you notice a little bit less stress, or a little more motivation. You might even come up with that next great idea.
Morning Success Prep
Another part of a solid morning routine is getting ready. No matter what you are doing that day, get ready to be successful.
This means you tackle three main areas:
- Hygiene – you brush your teeth, you shower, you wash what needs washing.
- Dress – you get dressed in clothes you wouldn’t be embarrassed being spotted in.
- Fuel – you drink a huge glass of water, and you eat something healthy*
You do this every morning, no matter what (health issues aside).
If you are in between jobs, you still do it. If you have a day off, you still do it. If it’s the weekend, you still do it.
You need to be ready to face the world, and jump at any opportunity that arises.
If you are clean, look good and have the energy from a healthy meal, you can’t help to feel better about yourself. Doing this daily will mean you feel better about yourself each and every day.
Being ready to take on the world each morning, and actually feeling like you can, certainly can’t hurt your progress towards your goals!
A powerful routine that I do each morning before work is set some goals for the day. I used a to-do-list app, but you can do this with pen and paper if you want.
Take some time in the morning (or night before if you want) to write down the things you want to accomplish that day.
This helps you plot your day so you are never at a loss for what you need to do next. Also, having your daily goals written down in front of you, makes sure you don’t forget something important you needed to do that day.
Don’t overwhelm yourself, but make sure you focus on a few areas of your life.
Work tasks are obviously important. They will probably be the first thing you write down. But don’t forget about family tasks, or personal/spiritual goals.
If you can get into this routine each morning, you will notice that:
- You use your time more effectively
- You aren’t wasting time worrying what to do next
- You won’t forget important tasks
- And as funny as it sounds, you will feel the thrill of accomplishment as you tick off each task
This isn’t something that takes a lot of time or effort, but the cumulative effects of it can really pay off down the road.
Take a Stroll
I think it is important to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. In this case, we aren’t talking about exercise though (more on that below).
This time we are simply talking about taking a stroll outside. Walking is a great way to accomplish a number of things:
- It breaks up the monotony of your day
- There are health benefits of not sitting around all day
- It is a great time to reflect and think
- It can be socially stimulating if you run into people
- It helps you connect with nature
- It can help reinvigorate you
One little walk and you get all of those great benefits!
When you commit to this as a daily routine, you will begin to notice that it becomes one of your favorite parts of the day.It’s just nice to get outside and take in some fresh air and sunlight. Quite often, people who commit to this end up going on longer and longer walks.
What was once a quick stroll, can actually become a form of actual exercise!
Which leads me to the next routine…
Exercise You Enjoy
Did you notice I didn’t just say “exercise”?
Daily exercise is something we all know is good for us, but sometimes we struggle to get enough. For some people, starting a daily routine of exercise is a battle of wills with yourself.
One way to potentially get around that roadblock, is to find some sort of exercise you enjoy.
This could be as simple as the walk mentioned above. For example, you could start to push yourself on distance or speed.
If walking doesn’t excite you (and fair enough) then maybe there is a sport you are into. I have friends who make sure they shoot some hoops each and every day.
The benefit of choosing a sport you enjoy is that you will also get better as your practice everyday.
If sports aren’t your thing, maybe you enjoy dancing. If you do, then embrace it!
The goal here is to find something you like so much, that it doesn’t feel like exercise or a chore. Once you find that, commit to doing it everyday, or at least multiple times per week.
Once you are committed it won’t take long for the physical and mental benefits to start appearing.
This might seem like an odd title, but this routine is all about “giving back”. An absolute wonderful routine to start in your life is doing a good deed for someone each day.
It doesn’t have to be a huge deal. Just make sure you do something nice for someone you know (or don’t) each and every day.
Besides this just being a nice thing to do – there are actual benefits to it. Don’t expect these benefits, and don’t do nice things just so you can reap rewards, but let’s be honest – you are probably thinking, “how does this help me?”
Well these good deeds will pay off in a few different ways:
- You will simply feel better because you made someone happy
- You will foster and strengthen the relationships in your life
- You might help the right person, who will end up helping you more than you can imagine in the future
- It’s a good networking tool
There is actually no real downside to doing something nice each day. Even if you don’t reap any of the benefits listed above, you will still have done something nice for someone.
Organize & Declutter
Cleaning, organizing and dealing with clutter is one of those things that most of us dislike, if not downright loathe.
One reason it is so annoying to us, is because we wait until it is so messy we just can’t handle it anymore and by then the job seems overwhelming.
A great routine to get into daily is setting some time aside to tidy and declutter.
Just taking a few minutes a couple of times a day can make a massive difference. Having a clean and tidy area to work, or relax in is so much nicer than dealing with a mess.
Plus, if you make it a daily routine, you won’t be suddenly overwhelmed by clutter or mess. You won’t lose a whole day dealing with a huge mess, just because you got to the point where you couldn’t handle it.
I find that actually scheduling time into your day to do this is helpful. For example, each day at noon and then again after dinner, I have some time set aside to clean and tidy.
I don’t do anything overwhelming. I just make sure that things are in their place, and any obvious mess is tidied.
Might not seem like a “life-changer” but I find I work a lot more effectively when I am surrounded by tidiness and not mess.
I firmly believe that people should commit to lifelong learning. This doesn’t only keep your skills sharp; it keeps your mind sharp as well.
One of the best ways to do this is to make learning part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to take long either. You can study a subject, or read a non-fiction book related to your passions for 15 minutes a day if you want.
If you are a little more hardcore, you might want to schedule an hour each day.
The time allotted isn’t as important as commitment to doing it everyday. Just think about it like this. If you spend 15 minutes each day learning about something you are interested in, by the end of the year you will have “studied” for 91 hours by the end of the year.
That is an appreciable amount of time and will go a long way to helping you learn a new subject or skill.
Also once you commit to this routine, you will notice it becomes easier and you may even find yourself sneaking in extra time to learn or read. Those 91 hours could easily balloon into 100s in this scenario.
Lifelong learning is a powerful tool for anyone, and creating a routine around it is a great way to commit.
Gratitude seems like kind of a buzz word these days. There are countless books, blog posts and entire websites dedicated to the concept.
For good reason though! All of us could use a reminder that no matter how bad things are, we all have things to be grateful for.
The best way to create a routine based around this is to start keeping a gratitude journal at night. Before bed, take some time to jot down a few things you are grateful for. Simple – yet powerful.
You can focus on things that happened that day, or things you are grateful for in general. The key is you commit to it daily.
The power of this is twofold;
- It helps keep you in a positive mindset
- It helps to motivate you
A gratitude journal is such a simple routine that it won’t take up much time. Considering the payoff, isn’t it worth it?
Your gratitude journal can certainly be part of your bedtime routine, but you should probably also have a few other steps you take each night before bed.Most of us naturally have a bed time routine, even if we aren’t aware of it. The goal here though is to create a bedtime routine that will help progress you towards your goals.
A solid bedtime routine can include (but isn’t limited to, nor do you have to do everything listed):
- Turning off devices
- Family related activities
- Reflection on your day
- Preparing for the following day
Having a solid bedtime routine is important because it can ensure you get the proper rest. Getting enough rest is very important because it helps reduce stress and increases your productivity.
A bedtime routine is also helpful because this is time you are usually at home and once the kids are asleep there may not be a lot going on. You can maximize this down time by creating simple routines like the ones listed above.
If you look at each “routine” outlined in this post – not a single one is very exciting or impressive.
That isn’t a fault of the routines here – it is actually a selling point! That’s the whole reason why routine can be powerful.
You take a simple, easy-to-do task that you can almost do mindlessly, and then by repeating it daily you turn it into a powerful ritual that propels you towards your goals.
No matter how silly or simple the routines above sound, please commit to trying a few (or more!) out for 30 or so days.
I think you will be very happy (and maybe a little surprised) about how these tiny tweaks can actually change your life.
From an autistic autism mom to you
The Autism Family Guide is your shortcut to autism parenting.
How do I know?
Because friend, the resources in this guide are lifechanging.
Create routines with ease, calming strategies at your fingertips, and more.