“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
It is through routine that we create structure in our lives. Think about what kind of routines you have in your life right now. Are they unhealthy or healthy? An unhealthy routine may consist of going to bed at 3:00 am, ignoring personal hygiene, eating poorly, and playing video games all day. A healthy routine may consist of going to bed at 10:00 pm, getting up at 7:00 am, showering, eating healthy meals, going to school, and studying during the day. What kind of habits do you want to have?
A four-step process can be used in creating new habits, and using this process can help you become more successful.
- Create a checklist.
Starting a new routine can be easy. Simply start with a checklist of the habits you want to create. You can be as detailed as you want to be. Although I have given you an example of a what a check list can look like below, you should customize your checklist and create a list of items on your list that are specific to YOU.So, if you already have a morning routine that works for you, then you don’t need a checklist to establish a new one. Only focus on changing routines that are not working for you or creating a new routine for areas in your life that need some structure. Too many lists are counterproductive.If you have several areas you want to work on and you are feeling overwhelmed, then only work on one area at a time.You will need to prioritize and decide what you want to work on first.
- Location! Location! Location!
Place a copy of your checklist where you can see it and use it with ease. If you don’t see it when you need it then it will not be helpful. For example, a morning routine or evening routine is best placed on a bathroom mirror. The best place for a homework routine may be on a bulletin board above a desk or on a refrigerator door. Find what works best for you.
- Use your checklist daily.
Laminate your checklist and use it daily. Simply check off each task with a dry erase marker as you complete it. Most important, focus on your progress. As long as you are making progress you are on track.
- Eliminate items from the checklist.
Once you are performing the tasks without thinking about them, then you are ready to part ways with those items on your checklist. Keep in mind that it can take time for these new habits to become ingrained in you, so don’t expect things to change overnight. It can take several weeks before these new habits are formed.
Creating routines that become habits can make your daily life easier to navigate, creating less stress, and may help you create more success in your life. Your life can be delightful!