The idea of a daily routine at first sounded mundane to me. After all, I pride myself on being spontaneous—free-spirited, a 2019 kind of a hippie. However, after evaluating my current daily habits, I realized that I do, in fact, have a daily routine. It just wasn’t serving me well.
I didn’t have to evaluate much to come to this conclusion. All I really needed to do was pay attention to my mornings. Yours may look something like this:
I get up around whenever and go to the bathroom, fix a cup of coffee. Check my email, browse Facebook, and play games. Then I rush to get ready for work, fix a little breakfast, and fly out the door.
This didn’t do anything for my spirituality or my productivity. In fact, I discovered that I was wasting anywhere from one to two hours each morning checking out other people’s lives and playing games. During that time, I would become angry at the posts of teens fighting and complaints about society. Plus, I never earned one real penny selling my farm animals.
In fact, this look at my morning routine prompted me to review the rest of my day. It was more of the same. Games during my lunch break. Television when I got home. Poor eating habits. Sleep after the games wore me out. It was time to create daily habits to improve life.
Daily Habits Serve Us in Several Ways
Our brains have so much to process throughout the day that it needs the help of an autopilot. Without our autopilot, we would have to tell our lungs to breathe and our hearts to beat. We’d never accomplish anything past just staying alive.
However, with our autopilot and the habits it creates, there is so much more we can do. Good personal habits come with benefits such as,
Making us more efficient: While the habit itself might not be efficient, the act of doing it is. Our brains don’t have to think about the habit or how to perform it. This frees it up to perform more conscious thinking.
Reaching our goals: Good personal habits provide the momentum needed to complete our goals. For example, if your goal is to eat better, creating a morning breakfast habit will ensure that you naturally go towards the right foods rather than grabbing a snack on the way out the door.
Creating peace: Certain daily habits to improve life such as meditation can help us be more mindful of our daily activities. Once created, they become automatic so that we go directly to that behavior as opposed to more aggressive behavior.
Bringing joy: A habit occurs in three parts called the habit loop. First, there is a trigger. Something happens that sets off the second part which is the reaction or act of performing the habit. Once the reaction occurs, there is a reward in the form of a chemical that the brain releases. This chemical brings us pleasure.
8 Incredibly Useful Daily Habit Tips for Peace and Joy
It’s common to label most daily habits as bad. We have smoking habits, couch potato habits, nail-biting, stress eating, and swearing habits. We spend so much time focusing on wanting to change the bad habits that not enough thought is put into creating good daily habits to improve life.
In fact, you probably already have many good personal habits, but do they promote peaceful living? If not, consider adding the following habits you need to develop:
- Breath: Anxiety can be a trigger that results in negative reactions. Instead of letting anxiety get the worst of you so that you react with aggression, be proactive. Stop what you are doing and take a few slow deep breaths. This good personal habit will calm you while giving you a chance to think of better ways to react to the event that triggered the anxiety.
- Organize your surroundings: A small habit you need to develop is to take a few moments to put your working area in order. This good personal habit can go a long way. Not only will you know where your supplies are, but you will also eventually be able to grab them without any thought and as a result declutter your mind.
- Practice gratitude: One simple way to practice gratitude is to learn how to say thank you as an immediate response to things when they happen. This doesn’t even have to be to another person, but that will happen more often once you develop the habit. You can learn to thank the earth for your beautiful surroundings, the weather for a calm rainy day at home, or your work for a productive day. The simple daily habit of taking a few minutes each morning to write five things you are grateful for in a journal will encourage thankful thinking all day long.
- Smile: Yes, smiling can become a daily habit that creates joy not only for yourself but also for others around you. According to Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/changepower/201605/the-9-superpowers-your-smile), a smile causes your brain to produce endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These three feel-good chemicals improve our moods and increase joy.
- Create a morning routine: You already have one. That is certain. The question is, is it serving you well? Instead of checking your phone in the morning, take a few minutes to meditate or exercise. Go ahead and drink your coffee if you must but follow that with a morning smoothy filled with fruits and proteins to give you a boost of vitamins as well as energy throughout the day.
- Eat Your Frog First: Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Make it a daily routine to pick one thing that you’ve needed to do and do it. Why? It’s simple; getting this dreaded task out of the way eases your mind. This task can be as simple as calling a friend that you’ve avoided because of a disagreement.
- Rise early: A habit you need to develop is to set your alarm for as little as 15 minutes earlier each day. This good personal habit gives you an additional 15 minutes towards your morning routine. If you are the first person up, you have given yourself quiet time to spend meditating, learning something new, or exercising.
- Pay bills: Very few people like the task of paying their bills. Create a monthly or weekly habit of sitting down and doing this chore. Paying all your bills at once means that for the rest of the week or month you can erase that task from your mind.
Look at other ways you can add daily habits to improve life in your routine. How do you spend your lunch break? What daily habits fill your time just before bed? A nightly routine should tell you it’s time to wind down and relax. The right nightly routine will promote more restful sleep.
Daily habits aren’t limited to negative activities. In fact, the habits you need to develop will make you more efficient and increase the joy you have in your life. You can easily include any of these beneficial habits in your routine. All it takes is a little mindful effort.