The most successful people have one thing in common: they have a routine. Having a routine keeps your mind sharp and helps to structure your day, while preparing you for anything that comes ahead. A routine can focus your mind and body, and help alleviate some stress from the day.

            The most important part of constructing a daily routine is figuring out what works for you. If you try to stick to a plan that just doesn’t suit you, you’ll have a tough time keeping it up. There is no one right way to start/structure your day.

            So how do you do this? The first step is to run through your daily obligations. What is it that you MUST do? Which of these must happen at a certain time? Once you know your unchangeable schedule: work, school, the like, you can start building around that. Things like going to the gym and fixing dinner are more movable, so you can fit them to your schedule.

            Next, you have to find out what time of day you operate best. Are you a morning person? Night person? Do the bulk of your work during those times. It may seem obvious to do this, but surprisingly a lot of people don’t. There’s a perception that certain things must be done at certain times, such as going to the gym has to be in the morning or grocery shopping should happen in the evening, but there is no real reason why these activities can’t fit your own schedule. Many gyms and grocery stores are open 24 hours, meaning that if 3 a.m. is when you want to buy milk, you can.

            The morning routine seems to be the thing people focus most on, which makes sense because the way you start the day can set your mood and influence the course of your day. However, you don’t have to climb a mountain and do yoga just to have a good day. Again, there is no one right way to start your day, so do what works for YOU. Some people like to start with a run, others like to sleep in as long as they can. If you go the sleep route, though, be careful that it is actually what works for you, not just what’s easiest.

Determining a daily routine is quite simple. Maintaining a routine, however, can be difficult. How many times have we made a New Year’s resolution and not stuck to it? Formulating a daily routine can be just the same.

Step One: Keep your schedule realistic

There is only so much time in the day. It can be nice to be optimistic about what you can get down, but if you’re looking for a long-term routine, it’s important that you don’t get too idealistic.

            Step Two: Change what isn’t working

You might not get it right the first time, and that’s alright. Adjust, and try again. It you may also help if you make schedules for each day (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) to make it more adaptable.

            Step Three: Don’t get discouraged

Sticking to a plan can be tough. You won’t always do it perfectly. If you slip up for a day or even a couple days, don’t think that it is pointless to start again. It takes work to form a habit, and the best thing you can do is try.

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