We All Have 24hrs in a Day

healthy habits routine Oct 12, 2022

It’s already October, and we are all well into the new routine that Fall brings. In my neck of the world, kids have gone back to school and for the first time in what feels like forever we are actually enjoying a wonderful Fall. This time of year is known as the second “New Year” for good reason. It is rich with change (quite literally) and it is an excellent opportunity to revisit the routines that give shape to our lives.

I very much think about routines as being the foundation of our day. They provide structure, and, when the right routines are in place, allow us to live out successful lives more easily. We most commonly think about routines as they pertain to children. I am sure you have heard the saying: “Kids need routine and structure” but the same is true for us “big kids”! Routines provide a sense of control over our day. Our brains like knowing what’s next and when they don’t have to think too much about the day-to-day, they are freed up to spend their finite decision-making power on more important things.

Of course, some routines are imposed…by schedules such as work and school. But we get to create the rest of our day! How exciting is that? It is our job to create routines that support our preferred lifestyle and goals. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How we choose to “spend” those hours is really up to us.

Woman on lap top and checking watch for time

How do you spend your hours of the day? Unsplash - Dylan Ferreira

Routines can also act as really important transitions throughout our day. That cup of coffee at your desk every morning may also signal a transition into the workday. Coworkers heading to the lunchroom to warm up their meals may signal that it’s time to go for your lunchtime walk. Given how busy we all seem to be these days, transitions are important to prepare for the next “item” or to-do”.

Knowing or identifying WHAT is important to our day is key (i.e. making time for quality sleep, food-prep, or exercise). When we know this, we can purposefully schedule those tasks as priorities, placing them where we have more energy or simply more time available. When planning your day, I recommend looking at it in chunks: Morning Routine, Afternoon Routine, and Evening Routine.

Some people worry that routine will dull their day, but that isn’t true. One way that you can both create variety AND routine at the same time is to schedule it in! No one says every single week has to look the same — unless of course that works for you. You could try working out at lunch on M/W/F but eating with friends or coworkers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Use routine to create success as well as schedule in fun and variety, which ultimately will keep us motivated to STICK with a routine in the first place!

Kettlebells lined up in a gym for workout

What do your different routines look like throughout the day? Unsplash - Ambitious Creative Co. - Rick Barrett

If we can view routine as a helpful structure, which we still have a lot of choice and agency over, it really is the best of both worlds! To a large extent, you get to choose what that structure looks like. Spend some time creating a routine that works for you and that supports your goals and the lifestyle you are working towards.

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