Ah, September! For me, having been in school forever, September was always my ‘new year’. The start of a new academic year, fresh planner and school supplies (yup, I’m totally a nerd who loves school supplies!), a fresh start – I just love this time of year.
Though, I’m no longer in school (thank god! 13 years of post-secondary education was enough for me!), I still look forward to this time of year and getting back into routine after summer vacation, setting goals and for the season ahead.
One thing I have come to understand being a busy mom, entrepreneur and wife is that my daily routine is key to keeping my household running smoothly, keeping my sanity and helping me keep my self-care in-check. I think this quote by John Maxwell sums it up nicely:
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”
This quote is so true. Often we will think, “I want to do this or that” or “I want to change my life”. But how do we really change our lives or reach those goals that we set for ourselves? How do we get there? Well, as the quote says above, it starts with our daily routine and prioritizing the things we want to make happen in our lives.
I will often have patients tell me that they want to change their lives – lose weight, heal their body or reduce stress – but then their daily choices and habits don’t reflect these goals. Instead they get stuck in a rut and their daily actions continue to perpetuate the very things that they want to change.
I have found that they key to my own success, bringing about the change that I want to see in my life, first comes by becoming aware of what I’m currently doing on a daily basis. Sitting down and taking a long hard look at the reality of my daily habits, actions and priorities is a powerful thing to do.
One of the most common frustrations I hear from people for why they don’t implement the change they want or meet the goals they dream of is that they don’t have enough time.
When I hear people say they don’t have enough time, what I’m actually hearing is this: “I’m filling my life with so many things that I haven’t decided what is most important.”
So let me ask you, what is most important in your life? What are your goals? What changes do you wish to make in your life and what actions do you need to implement daily to make them a reality? What do you need to say ‘no’ to in order to make yourself a priority? How will you create the space needed for you to show up in your life?
Sit down and make a list of the things you want and need in your life to feel your best and decide how you will build your daily routine around these. An easy way to start is to create morning and evening routines that bookend your day. I suggest for your morning routine, start by doing the most essential things for yourself first. I have adopted Marie Forleo’s concept of NNT (non-negotiable time) and it has been a game changer! NNT is time that you set aside everyday to do the things that are non-negotiable and given first priority. I’ll give you an example by sharing with you my morning and evening routines:
My Morning Routine:
I wake up and first thing I do is take some time to pray, meditate and set my intentions for the day. I get dressed in my gym gear and pour myself a big glass of water. Then my family wakes up, I get my son ready for school and make his lunch while my husband makes himself and our son breakfast before they head out the door to work and school. I then head to the gym to workout, then come home, shower and have breakfast. I then head to my office, look at my to-dos for the day, prioritize what to do first and then check email and texts etc.
This daily rhythm allows me to prioritize my self-care first and then care for my family before I let the rest of the world into my day.
My Evening Routine:
I pick-up my son from school, we have time together while I make dinner and tidy the house. My husband comes home and we eat dinner together, then it’s time for my son’s bedtime routine. After he’s in bed it’s adult time to relax, read, talk or watch some TV. I try to be in bed with my phone off by 9/9:30 pm to read, journal, meditate and relax before turning out the lights at 10pm.
Now let me be clear, the point of creating a routine is NOT to create a rigid schedule of to-dos that you must stick to or else! Of course there will be days when events or commitments will alter your routine and you need to go with the flow.
A routine is not meant to be a source of stress in your life. The whole point of a routine is to help you prioritize and create space for the things that matter most, bring you joy and improve your health and well-being. A routine is an empowering tool that establishes a natural rhythm to your day that allows you to slow down, breathe and enjoy your life. Imagine that!
In the comments below I’d love to hear your NNTs or what daily routine tips you’ve discovered that work for you!
Here’s to finding a gentle, peaceful rhythm to your day.