We all have habits. Big or small, healthy or unhealthy, our habits combine to form routines that play out every day for us. Most of this is done without us even having to think. That’s why even though we understand the importance of having good habits, sometimes it’s tough to stick to a healthy daily routine.
Today, you’ll learn more about why setting a routine can be a challenge. By understanding the root causes for your behaviors, you’ll learn how to make changes and stick with them. You’ll also discover some positive daily routines that can lead you to a healthier and happier life.
Finding and adopting the right daily routine will re-energize you and help you regain wasted time. Your mind and body will thank you for the decreased anxiety and extra care you’ve given it. Here’s to a healthier, calmer, and higher-achieving you.
Table of Contents
- How a Daily Routine Changes Your Life
- Best Daily Routines for a Healthy, Calm and Higher-Achieving Life
- How to Stick to Your Routine like Glue
- More Ideas About Building Habits & Routines
- Books About Building Habits & Routines
How a Daily Routine Changes Your Life
Your daily routine consists of all of your habits. These actions structure your day and make the difference between operating at peak efficiency and struggling to make it through a poorly-planned day.
You can have energizing, time-saving routines, or you can adopt draining, inefficient routines. The choice is up to you. Don’t feel bad if you know that some unhealthy habits have crept into your day. The important thing is to recognize them so that you can make a change.
An excellent daily routine sets you up for success. If you make just one change that saves you 10 minutes per day, you can regain 60 hours of your precious time back each year.
Recently, I’ve had an interview with a renowned productivity and time management coach, Carl Pullein, about his daily routine.
Carl shared with me about his daily routine:
“I wake up at 5 AM every weekday morning and spend the first 45 minutes studying Korean and then 15 minutes in quiet meditation.
At 6 AM I will check my email for 20 minutes (that’s a strict 20 minutes) I will reply to emails that can be replied to in less than 2 minutes and save other emails that need a longer reply to my “Action Today” folder which I will deal with when I have time later that day.
10:00 AM is nap time, usually 20 to 40 mins. It depends on how tired I feel but I try to allow a complete hour for resting.
2 PM is exercise time. This has set days. Sunday to Thursday are exercise days and at 2 PM on those days, I will stop what I am doing and do my exercise for the day.
8:30 PM is 40 minutes dog walking. During that time I have no digital devices with me. It’s just me and my dog and nature. This is the best time of the day for reflection and idea generation.
At 10 PM, I will close down my day with a set routine of some basic admin tasks, setting my objectives for the next day and closing out my journal for the day. This usually lasts around 30 minutes. Then it’s bed time around 11 PM.”
Carl has been following this routine for over 10 years — nap time, email time, exercise, dog walking and closing down his day. He thinks the biggest benefit of having a set routine is that you will start doing things you may not want to do. These things will become your habits.
“You no longer overthink things and persuade yourself not to do them. Instead, no matter how you feel, you will just do it.”
For example, Carl has wanted to get fluent at Korean for years but failed miserably each time. So this year, he is determined to achieve that goal. He has joined what Robin Sharma calls the “5 AM Club” and modified it to allow him to study for 45 minutes every weekday morning. In just 10 months, his language level has gone from ‘survival Korean’ to conversational Korean.
With daily routines, you will be taking baby steps consistently towards your goal over a period of time. Having a daily routine helps you focus on the important things in life.
“My closing down routine at the end of the day—I call my “Golden Ten”—is where I can see the big picture of what I am trying to achieve. This allows me ten minutes each day to review how I am doing on my goals and set objectives for the next day that will help me achieve my goals. It’s a way to make sure I am moving in the right direction and if I am not, I can make any necessary adjustments.”
Having a daily routine not only makes you more efficient, it also eliminates your need to waste time deciding what to do next. It’ll help you build good habits and break bad ones. It seems counter-intuitive, but adding some structure to your life can set you free.
Best Daily Routines for a Healthy, Calm and Higher-Achieving Life
It takes time to become the best version of yourself but I’ll help you to make it easier by getting you a few healthy daily routine examples to follow directly:
- Daily routine for good health and more energy
- Daily routine for an organized life
- Daily routine for more productive work
- Daily routine for a stronger relationship
Pick one routine to stick to first
, and then gradually combine one more routine to fit into your life each week. In less than 2 months, you will be living a healthy and successful lifestyle in autopilot.
Daily Routine for Good Health and More Energy
1. Start your day with a glass of lemon water
Simply add the juice of half a lemon to your glass and drink it to enjoy a refreshing start to the day.
Lemon juice reduces your body’s acidity levels, which in turn protects you against inflammatory diseases such as fungal infections and osteoporosis.
Working out early in the morning improves your energy levels, improves your circulation, and encourages good lymphatic function. Just 20 minutes every day can make a difference! Mix up cardio and weights throughout the week for all-over toning and general health.
Getting on the scale each morning is also an effective way to monitor your weight. Don’t go weeks without weighing yourself, because this allows you to remain in denial about any weight gain!
3. Eat a good breakfast
Fuel yourself with a healthy mix of protein, slow-release carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Sensible options include yogurt with nuts and berries, a vegetable omelette, and low-sugar granola bars with a piece of fruit.
4. Stay hydrated and snack smart
Did you know that becoming even slightly dehydrated can lead to lowered mood and decreased concentration? Keep water or other low-sugar drinks on hand to sip throughout the day.
When it comes to snacking, pick foods that will give you a slow release of energy. Pairing a protein with a complex carbohydrate is a smart choice. For example, try half an apple spread with peanut butter. Check out for more healthy snack ideas here.
5. Get a healthy lunch
Even the busiest of us can grab a healthy lunch. You just need to think ahead!
For lunch ideas you can make in advance and take with you to work, check out this post: Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
Avoid too much fat at lunch time, as it promotes afternoon lethargy, which isn’t going to help you get through a busy day! If you are watching your weight, track everything you eat using an app like MyFitnessPal.
6. Take some mid-afternoon exercise
Most of us have a mid-afternoon “slump” somewhere between 2 p.m and 4 p.m, but you can keep yourself going through the day by choosing a healthy lunch and taking some moderate exercise in the afternoon. This doesn’t have to strenuous. Just a 10-minute walk and a few stretches at your desk can work wonders. Check out this list of 29 exercises you can do at (or near) your desk.
With a plethora of meal planning apps out there, getting a quick but healthy dinner on the table has never been easier! Use an app like Mealime to help you organize your grocery list so that you always have the right ingredients to hand. Be realistic – choose something that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to throw together, otherwise you may resort to takeout.
Green vegetables are always a great choice, as they are packed with antioxidants and have an alkalinizing effect. Choose plant-based proteins such as tofu or seitan or, if you prefer animal protein, pick fish and lamb rather than beef or chicken to minimize acidity levels in the body.
Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, because it will prevent you sleeping soundly at night.
8. Take time to relax
It’s normal to feel stressed from time to time, but high stress levels leave you vulnerable to a number of health conditions and problems including depression and elevated blood pressure.
Find a healthy activity that relaxes you, then set aside some time every day to do it! This could be journaling, reading an inspiring book, spending time with a pet, meditating, or simply taking a few minutes to remind yourself of everything that is going well in your life.
9. Take vitamin C supplement before going to sleep
Take half a teaspoon of buffered vitamin C powder in a glass of water before turning in for the night.
This is a quick, effective means of reducing the acidity in your body. It will also ensure that you go to bed well-hydrated, which will help you wake up with a clear head.
10. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
It sounds obvious, but if you want to feel your best then you must get enough sleep. Most experts recommend that we get between 6 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Some of us can get by on six hours, but be honest with yourself – if you feel better having had more sleep, bear it in mind when setting your alarm clock.
Turn off your phone and computer at least an hour before bed, and avoid vigorous exercise in the late evening. These measures will help you wind down when it’s time for sleep.
Daily Routine for an Organized Life
Before Work Rituals
1. Make your bed in the morning
Start the day off right by making your bed. It’s a quick chore that will put you in a productive, organized frame of mind.
2. Have your workout equipment and clothing ready the night before
If you like to work out, the morning is the best time to do it! It will leave you feeling full of energy and will give you a sense of accomplishment before you leave the house. Whether you like to go for a walk, take a gym class or do yoga in your bedroom, make sure that you have all the equipment and clothing you need laid out and ready the night before.
3. Spray down and wipe the largest surfaces in the bathroom
After your morning shower, spray down and wipe the largest surfaces in your bathroom. It’s much easier and more fun to do mini-cleans throughout the week than wait until the weekend!
4. Put everything back where you found it after breakfast
When you’ve made your breakfast, put everything back exactly where you found it – this makes everything easier the morning after. If you notice that you are running low on a grocery item, add it to a list you can take with you next time you pass the grocery store.
5. Run through a list of your essential items before you leave the house
Before you leave the house, run through a list of your essential items such as your wallet, employee badge, water bottle, and so on. Keep a list of these items near your front door so that you can quickly check your purse or bag before heading out the door. Don’t try to de-clutter or re-organize a room before work, as this will just add to your stress levels!
When You Arrive at Work
6. Prioritize your tasks
Make a list of tasks and decide whether they are important, urgent, both, or neither. Start with important and urgent tasks, move onto the important and non-urgent tasks, then tackle the unimportant but urgent jobs. Writing a task list gives you a sense of control.
7. Prioritize your emails
Before you start your day, spend 10 minutes prioritizing your e-mails. We all receive so many messages each day that we can’t hope to reply to them all! Get into the habit of deciding which ones need your urgent attention, which are important, which are both, and which are neither.
Check your e-mails every couple of hours rather than every few minutes, because frequent interruptions will impair your concentration and productivity.
During Your Coffee Break
8. Keep your finances on track
Take a couple of minutes to keep your finances on track. Check your bank balance, and make sure that you’re sticking to your budget! You can also use apps to help you manage your money, including Mint.
9. Think about what you are going to have for dinner
Do you need to pick anything up from the grocery store on the way home? Do you need to look up a recipe? This only takes a few minutes, but a bit of planning can save a lot of time later. Why not use a meal planning app such as Mealime?
10. Make personal calls or send personal emails (when necessary)
This is the perfect opportunity to make any personal calls or send personal e-mails. For example, you could schedule that dental appointment you’ve been putting off, or finally reply to that e-mail from your aunt. These little chores can seem overwhelming when you get home from work and just want to relax, so do them at lunch.
11. Clear your desk before you leave your desk
Take five minutes to clear your work desk before you leave for your break. It will help you feel more organized when you return.
12. Quickly review your to-do list
If you aren’t making as much progress as you hoped, it’s time to rewrite it!
13. Carry out mundane and easy tasks
If possible, carry out mundane and easy tasks such as replying to simple e-mails a couple of hours after lunch, when your energy will naturally hit a slump. In general, as the day goes on, we lose the capacity to make lots of high-level decisions.
Try to schedule your more complex tasks for the morning. On the other hand, important and urgent tasks must always take priority.
14. Neat your desk before you leave the office
Spend the last 10 minutes of your workday neatening your desk and your computer desktop. This will help you stay organized the following morning.
15. Put everything you’ve worn on that day the same place you took from
Always put your coat, purse, and other possessions away in the same place the moment you get in the door. Otherwise, they might go missing!
16. Do the dishes immediately after dinner
Otherwise, you might be tempted to sit down in front of the TV and get distracted.
17. After dinner, spend 10 minutes doing a quick de-clutter.
Set a timer, choose an area of your home, and get busy! It’s an easy way to see quick results, and will make you feel more in control of your possessions.
18. Lay out your clothes and accessories for the next day
This ensures that you don’t have to think about what to wear the next morning. You can even lay out your breakfast dishes!
19. Do a “brain dump” of all your ideas and tasks for tomorrow.
Doing a “brain dump” is helpful if you tend to lie awake worrying about what you need to do the next day. Once you have written them down, you can go to sleep knowing that you can refer to the list when you wake up.
Daily Routine for More Productive Work
Before Work Rituals
1. Plan for the upcoming work the night before
Some of the most effective and productive people get started on their daily routine the night before.
Think of this as the planning stage, at this time you might find it useful to plot out your day in blocks of time, with a specific activity planned for each. This is commonly known as the time blocking method.
Using this method ensures that you don’t end up multitasking which can have a negative impact on your productivity. As the president, Barack Obama often got ready for his day the night before by reviewing what he needed to accomplish.
2. Wake up at a time that works for you (and sticks to it every day)
This may sound counter intuitive, it is often imagined that the most productive people are those that can wake up at dawn, and continue into the evening. But the 9-5 work day might not necessarily suit everyone.
I’m not suggesting that people work less, but someone who works from 10-6 works for just as long as someone who works 9-5, and that extra hour in bed may mean that they’re more fresh and ready to work.
Often you might not have a choice in what time you get up, after all, if you are expected at work at 09:00, you can’t be in bed at that time, but if you have any flexibility at all, consider what works best for you.
3. Eat a good breakfast
As also mentioned in the Daily Routine for Good Health, once you have woken up, it is very important to eat well. You need something that will give you a good boost of energy, all the while keeping you full. A good idea is oatmeal with a smoothie or a healthy fruit juice.
Check out 30 Healthy And Tasty Recipes For Breakfast That You Can Make The Night Before for more healthy breakfast choices that are easy-to-make and will keep you energetic.
Back to Work Rituals
4. Ensure a clean workspace which is distractions free
A few years ago a study at Princeton University concluded that if in your field of vision, there are many forms of visual stimuli, your brain will spread its focus and attention to each piece. In another word, if your desk is cluttered, your ability to focus on the task at hand.
Simply clearing your desk of distractions therefore, can have a great impact on your focus, and with it, your productivity.
5. Don’t check emails first
Mornings are a great time to do productive work that requires focus, creativity, and strategy. Clearing out the inbox gives you a false sense of achievement, and wastes the opportunity to engage your brain in more proactive tasks. Though you may have read a lot of emails, you have nothing important done.
Unless your job revolves around emails checking and replying only, never make checking emails your first thing to do when you’re back to work. Instead, focus on your goals and do what really matters.
6. Tackle the worst thing first
Start your working day by tackling the most difficult or most pressing task first, the task that will most likely encourage you to procrastinate. This is the philosophy put forward by Brian Tracy in his book Eat That Frog.
The benefit of this is simple. Even if you accomplish little else that day, you can be happy with the knowledge that you did something important. Also, by doing the most difficult thing first, everything else will be easier.
7. Take a quick nap or meditate
When setting up a routine, it can be easy to forget the most important activity – resting. Humans simply aren’t built for working all day, every day without a break. If you don’t consider this in your routine, there is a danger that you will lose energy and enthusiasm all together and burn out, thereby killing your productivity altogether. This can be mitigated by making sure to making sure you get some rest.
8. Say no to unreasonable requests
This can be the hardest things on this list, but it can be one of the most effective. Adding extra tasks and jobs to your day can immediately throw your routine off balance, and it will negatively impact you day’s productivity.
As such, declining and saying no to extra tasks (that are unreasonably urgent or are unimportant) can be the key to staying productive. After all, doing one thing really well is more important than doing several things badly.
Sometimes you may be forced to say yes and accept new tasks, but this won’t always be the case. Feel free to say no some times.
9. Finish up and off on time
By remaining focused on specific tasks, you won’t feel overwhelmed and overworked as you’re totally in control. And because you have things all planned out, you saved tons of energy from making unnecessary decisions.
As you should have tackled all the hardest things by now, the rest of the day should be far easier too.
Daily Routine for a Stronger Relationship
1. Kiss each other goodbye
How often do you rush out of the door with a quick peck on the cheek and a ‘see you later!’ Maybe you’ve got to the stage where you don’t even do that anymore. It’s important to really take the time to say goodbye.
Create 3 to 5 minutes in your morning routine to just be with your partner and properly say goodbye. Kiss each other meaningfully and take in the moment. It’s important not to get in such a rush that these small gestures don’t get overlooked.
2. Create little daily rituals when you’re together and apart
Creating small actions that are meaningful to both of you can build a sense of connection and these can carry on throughout your day when you’re apart.
Find a certain song you sing to each other when you bring a cup of coffee. Leave a message on the fogged up mirror for your partner to discover or leave little notes in the car or biscuit tin. Text a joke of the day on your lunch breaks.
These types of rituals bring a sense of positive expectation and bonding – something only the two of you share together. Without these, relationships can become stale.
3. Kiss each other hello
Again, these moments can get looked over once the initial spark of a relationship has died down. We often walk in the door exhausted, maybe even irritable, and we don’t take the time to connect.
Spend a good amount of time saying hello to each other. Kiss, cuddle, ask how each other is or don’t say anything at all and take in the embrace. Physical touch in silence is equally powerful.
It’s very easy to neglect this simple routine where it becomes a habit to not do it anymore.
4. Schedule regular date nights
This is particularly important when you have kids. When your lives are controlled by children and extra responsibilities, your relationship can get overlooked. This is when things can breakdown and intimacy gets lost no matter how much you love each other.
Schedule regular date nights where you can be free from responsibilities and really connect with each other. Use this time to check in with how each other is feeling, and most importantly, have fun. Keep reconnecting with the reasons you fell in love in the first place.
5. Create a bonding bedtime routine
When the doors are closed and you’ve finally fallen into bed, it’s easy to want to fall asleep but bedtime is a wonderful time to get connected with your partner not only in a physical way but in an emotional way too.
Try to go to bed at the same time and use it as your couple time. Pillow talk is a great time to bond. While you’re in a relaxed state, talk about your days at work, any concerns or even future plans. Communication and talking things out is the best habit you can have as a couple. Just make sure you take the time to really listen to each other with respect and an open mind – always ending the night on a positive note.
Regular Relationship Habits
6. Say thank you to each other
Whether it’s in the morning, evening or a text in the day, remember to express gratitude to your partner.
Feeling thankful is a powerful way to create love in a relationship because it benefits both of you. Really feel gratitude for something they’ve done – even if it was something small two months ago. It’s impossible to feel gratitude and negative feelings at the same time so this can really strengthen your love for each other.
7. Use your partner’s love language
A lot of bad communication and feelings of neglect are down to not understanding each others love language. There are 5 key ways people express love and two people could have two completely different languages leading to misunderstandings.
Find out each others’ love language and try to use it to show your love throughout the morning, day or evening. Your partner may express love through physical touch whereas you express your love through words or gifts. One isn’t better than the other but finding out which one is important to each of you and acting accordingly will help your relationship to flourish.
How to Stick to Your Routine like Glue
When you do something and no immediate harm comes to you, your brain assumes that it’s safe to continue doing the activity. Overcoming a habit that feels comfortable to you requires impressive amounts of willpower.
Reaching for a snack or scrolling through social media can sabotage healthy plans by flooding your brain with dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. That dopamine release causes you to want to continue the action whether or not it’s good for you.
There may be quite a few things that ought to change in your life. Changing too many habits at once can be difficult and discouraging.
On top of all that, we only have so much mental bandwidth to devote to making decisions. When decision fatigue sets in, we’re likely to revert to whatever is easiest, even if we know it’s unhealthy.
Biting off more than you can chew is a surefire way to fail. Instead, pick one routine, and work on that. Or better, pick one habit and stick to that first.
Everything you’ve learned from this article is just part of our 7 Cornerstone Skills — a skillset that will give you the power to build habits, stay motivated and achieve whatever you want.
You can’t change your entire life overnight, but you can gradually change your lifestyle and routines with our Cornerstone Skills Transformation Course.
Upgrading your daily routine is a commitment. By starting small and being realistic, you can develop healthy rituals and efficient routines that help you get the most out of life.
More Ideas About Building Habits & Routines
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
- Understand Your Habits to Control Them 100%
- Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This
- The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day
- 20 Tips to Get Your Bedtime Routine Started for a Better Tomorrow
- The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive
- Science Tells You How Long It Takes to Break a Habit
Books About Building Habits & Routines
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
- Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, by 99U
Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com