How to Optimize Your Day Through Habit and Routine

Here’s an interesting fact:

As of November 3rd, 2019 when you search the hashtag #successhabits in Instagram, you’ll get 202 000+ results.  And if you search the hashtag #successroutines on Instagram, you’ll get 500+ results. Hmmm … why do you think there’s such a large discrepancy? I mean, if you can form both habits and routines that lead you to success, why are more people concerned about #successhabits?

I just noticed I’m not even following #successroutines ! Buzz words are powerful!

If you watched this week’s YouTube video, then you already know some major differences between habits and routines.  And long story short, it turns out both habits and routines can be incredibly beneficial. But as it turns out, people gravitate toward using the word habit rather than the word routine.

Buzz Words For the Win

The word habit is intriguing.  It’s a concept that people aren’t educated on, so hearing the word is novel and exciting.  On the other hand, the word routine is pretty standard and boring; it’s used in casual conversations and people generally understand it’s meaning.  So if you’re a coach or you sell some sort of personal development product, it’s much more likely you’ll slap the word “habit” on your sales page or on your merchandise in order to generate more revenue.

The problem is, you’re misleading people.

Stop Conflating Terms

Listen, in order to maximize your time and become more efficient, you’ll want to start creating both good routines and good habits.  And once you do, your routines will cause you to become more mindful and intentional, and your habits will cause you to think less and do more.  That means, in order to optimize your day and maximize your output, you need to understand when you should create routines and when you should create habits.

Routines

Since routines are intentional activities and not automatic responses, they can be best used when implementing actions which are uncommon, short-term, or likely to change over the course of time.  Routines are like knowing what you want to do, then doing it.

For example, you might create a routine for when your family comes over for dinner this weekend. You’ll invite them over for 1 pm, serve appetizers and drinks, initiate conversation, set the dinner table, serve dinner, then serve coffee and dessert while everyone relaxes in the living room. It is likely everyone will be home by 9 pm. This order of operations is intentional; you set up those steps to make the night go smoothly and host a good party.

Habits

Since habits are mindless activities or short-cuts your brain uses to complete tasks, they are best used when implementing repetitive actions, actions that will continue over the long term, and actions likely to remain consistent. When you operate out of habit, it’s like doing x because you did y.  That’s also why the steps you take to complete a habit are micro, detailed, and specific – you always need a specific cue to signal you to engage in a specific routine, and you also need a specific reward to keep you inplementing that routine.

For example, when you are preparing dinner for your guests, you might be in a habit of immediately throwing-out vegetable scraps because you just cut-up a bunch of onions and carrots. And your reward to do that routine is that it keeps the kitchen clean as you continue preparing dinner.

Good habit of throwing out scraps immediately after chopping vegetables.
good habits…

And if you read my post from last week, you also know how to create a habit out of positive self talk. So when it comes to creating a habit in this area, you might tell yourself a positive thought like “I am learning,” because a negative thought like “I am stupid” entered your mind, all while knowing your reward is remaining happy and loving yourself.

So What Do You Want?

If you want certain activities to be convinient, especially those which are mundane, I recommend you make them a habit. You’ll expend less energy and optimize your actions.

And the good news is, any routine (good or bad) in your life can become a habit as long as you correctly fulfill all the parts of the habit formula:

Habit(f) = (cue+routine+reward)repetition

So make a list of activities in your life that can become habits. Then start creating cues, routines, and rewards for them so the habit can actually form.  And if you want a more in-depth lesson on how to do that, make sure you sign up for my free #YearOfYou course by clicking here.

Create habits that fit yourself lifestyle and as always Happy Monday!

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.

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