Every New Year we are faced with the struggle of trying to figure out what our goals/resolutions are for the year and how we are supposed to accomplish them. It can be really tricky, I’m not going to lie, but I believe that no matter the goal if you have a solid routine you’re already well on your way to success!
The first step in all of this is making your resolutions for the year. Many people get too carried away when they’re creating their resolutions, and that’s part of what causes so many people to quit them before the end of the year- they’re just not doable. Instead, to help you develop completely doable and empowering New Year’s Resolutions I’ve written another post called Setting Reasonable New Year’s Resolutions. Check it out and let me know if it was helpful!
The second issue is that many people may create doable resolutions, but haven’t set themselves up for success by making a plan to complete the goals. By ‘plan,’ I really mean routine. You can literally accomplish almost whatever you want as long as you make the time to dedicate to it and a routine is precisely how you make that time.
Apart from helping you meet your New Year’s Resolutions, routines are great for a whole smorgasbord of reasons, but here are the top 5 reasons that a routine will set you up for success in the New Year!
Routines Create Stability
Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a very well organized person. I like plans. I love strategy. I like routines. Why? Finding a routine has been an enormous help for me because it provides consistency in a VERY inconsistent world. It’s a way for me to take control when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
My anxiety centers on being overwhelmed with too much to do in a short amount of time, so it makes sense that having an “agenda” would be helpful. All it takes is a bit of simple problem-solving. I feel overwhelmed with things to do, so I get out a piece of paper and make a to-do list. Getting a visual view, alone, of what’s stressing me out tends to be pretty grounding.
Routines are beneficial if you want to lead a more stable life. I’ve started creating a consistent routine for myself, and I have definitely noticed a difference because of it. This doesn’t have to be complex, and you don’t need to plan every minute of your day. All I’m suggesting is for you to make a list of a few things that are important for you to do every day and then commit actually to follow through on doing those things daily.
For example, I workout daily before lunchtime and take a shower, brush my teeth, and take my vitamins/supplements every evening before bed. I also do my best (it doesn’t always happen) to make my evenings exclusively for spending time with my friends and family.
Routines Boost Productivity
When someone actually creates a routine and sticks to it, many studies show that productivity levels rise. For me, when I created a daily routine for getting blog work done, things went much more smoothly than before I had a routine. I was actually checking things off my to-do list consistently without feeling like my whole day was overtaken with work.
Before I had a routine, my days felt like a swarm of bullshit from the time I woke up to the time I would fall asleep. Some days I would work hours on end because I was so behind on tasks and then there were other days that I would procrastinate and not get anything accomplished at all. This led to my life being one big roller coaster of being lazy, overworking myself, and then being lazy again.
This probably sounds incredibly dramatic, but establishing a routine for myself literally revolutionized my life. I went from being the starving artist (not as in actually starving, I’m using this term to express that I was dying for an artistic outlet) who could never seem to create what she wanted to develop to starting and maintaining a full-on company with 20 team members…and we’re still growing!
If you can dedicate a certain amount of time every single day to accomplishing specific tasks, then that mountain of work you’re facing turns into little jobs here and there throughout the week. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend 3 hours a day working on something than be lazy and procrastinate for 5 days, leaving myself a full 12 hours of work to do in one day.
Having a routine allows you to carve out time to complete your tasks without it feeling overwhelming, while also encouraging you to work ahead or help someone else once you start realizing how much more efficient your new work system is. I’ve noticed I feel so much more accomplished when I’m functioning within my routine because things are getting checked off the list early in the day, leaving me the evening to be with my family and friends!
Ah…that brings me to my next point.
Routines Give You More Free Time
I’m sure I’m getting some of the ‘are you crazy?!’ looks from some of you right now, but hear me out! I’ve noticed that because I’m doing things in pieces instead of massive projects all at once, I actually have more free time. The reason this works is that I’m completing my tasks regardless of if my day is already busy or not.
This means that on my busy days I’m absolutely swamped, but on my days off I only have a few things to do. I then get to spend the rest of the day feeling good about myself for completing my tasks while I eat 2 large pepperoni pizzas and a whole 2 liter of Pepsi and playing all the video games I possibly can.
Anyway, the point of all this is even though I used to procrastinate, I didn’t have those days to do whatever I wanted or to rest. Instead, they were usually completely filled up with other things, or I was just so stressed and anxious about not getting my work done that I would be completely debilitated.
In this respect, I’m really thankful for how much free time my routine has given me. I feel like I actually have a life…most of the time, anyway!
Routines Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Not only did having a routine give me more free time, but it relieved my stress and anxiety about my work to a point where I could actually enjoy it instead of fretting the entire time. It’s such a nice feeling to know you’ve accomplished everything you needed to for the day and can now just kick back and relax.
Aside from just clearing up some mental space so I can enjoy my free time, it’s also reduced my general feeling of overwhelmedness and anxiety. I went from feeling like I had no direction or plan to consistently doing things every day to get me closer to my goals. I was finally seeing progress, and you’d be surprised how much of a positive effect that can have on someone.
Also, merely having something (anything) to rely on from day to day in a world that is continually trying to beat you down brings some comfort, even if it’s only a little bit. Having a routine kept me from feeling like I’m spinning out and it gave me direction, both of those things being major hurdles that people with anxiety are constantly facing.
Routines Bring Order to Creativity
To top it off, I feel like there are a lot of people out there who are struggling (just like I was) to get all of that creativity in your mind turned into something that is tangible, and that can actually grow with hard work and consistency. Routines can do this for you by organizing your thoughts and getting you on a path where you will be able to see real results!
It’s those creatively inclined people that I hope this article helps the most because I understand where you’re at and I want you to be in a better, more organized place with less stress, more success, and a general feeling of peace.
Happy New Year!!
About the Author
Mica MacKenzie is the founder and CEO of Quiet Nonsense. She currently lives in Dallas with her boyfriend, Hunter and their goldendoodle puppy Ted! Her dream is to help Quiet Nonsense develop into an alternative version of Buzzfeed, but she also wants to get her PhD in Physics so she can do research and teach at a University.