Getting Back into Routine

As things are currently in a slow re-open phase in our COVID life, lots of emotions come up. Excitement and a little fear all at the same time. Good or bad, I’ve gotten into a routine of being at home and not on a strict schedule. My schedule and need to have one went out the window for almost three months. Now I am going to be able to work with people in person and am fortunate to get on the schedule of dropping my kids off for summer camp. This means getting back into a routine of having to be somewhere at a certain time. Yikes! My kids and I have become pretty comfortable in no routine really at all. Looking at a broader view of how to make this transition into a routine successful, it will need to start with how evenings are handled to ensure we are rested in the morning to get out of the house on time. Every change has a transition period.

Often times when I work with clients, they have an idea of what they “know” they need to do in terms of making a healthy choice or behavior, they just can’t seem to make it happen. Guess what, that’s normal! This also is what makes us human. By definition, we are creatures of habit, routine, or ritual. So why is it so easy to get out of routine? The answer is, whether we are aware of it or not, we are always in routine. We just recognize we are in a “routine” when we can label it as healthy or a one that is serving us. Sometimes we are just in a routine that doesn’t serve us. Ever said, “I just need to get back into the routine of taking walks.” If you aren’t in the routine of taking walks, what does your current routine look like- whether you like it or not? When we acknowledge all our routines, we can use them as awareness and motivation to change.

Knowing I need to focus on sleep for success, I am going to focus on my evenings. For me, I like to have a nice routine at the end of the night. This includes, listening to some music, organizing what I need for the next day, washing face, brushing teeth, journaling, reading, and blissfully falling asleep before 10:00pm. Want to know the last time I did that? I can’t exactly tell you. I think that I’ve done it once during the COVID quarantine. When I don’t have a good bedtime ritual, my entire sleep pattern is off which throws everything off the next day and the vicious cycle begins. You’d think feeling well would be motivation enough to just do the lovely bedtime, right? Well, I am well aware that I am deep into another routine. Lots of phone scrolling, TV watching, piling clutter in my bedroom, and not washing my face. I have found that if I don’t necessarily have a specific place to show up for the next day, I don’t feel motivated to have a nice bedtime because I can operate on feeling less rested. Let’s together break down how I can release the non-serving routine back into creating a healthy bedtime ritual. If I can talk it out with you, then I can plan to take action tonight. See if any of these steps can translate into making a new routine for yourself. This is my plan, yours may look different because you’re not me- and that’s the beauty of it.

Step 1: Decide what bedtime ritual looks like & set goal.

Each night, at 9pm I would like to start my bedtime ritual. This includes, doing any small necessary decluttering in bedroom, playing relaxing music, taking evening vitamins, put phone away to charge, wash face, brush teeth, journal, breathe and read until I fall asleep. (Sounds pretty nice, right?)

My goal is to have a relaxing bedtime ritual three times per week. I know I am currently not doing it at all, so committing to three times seems do-able.

Step 2: Motivation- understanding my why.

A calming bedtime routine is important as I am more relaxed in the evening and sleep better. When I sleep better, the next day I am more rested, present, focused, positive and productive.

Step 3: Set Accountability.

I set a “bedtime” reminder on my phone to turn off at 9pm.

Step 4: Observe with Awareness.

At 9pm I am going to start to tune into my actions and emotions. What am I feeling? Is there a draw to do the old routine? Why? What are my challenges? What is my motivation? What could make this easier?

Step 5: Take Action & Observe.

Try the new routine and just take note of how it all goes without judgement.

Step 6: Review, reflect, adapt and try again.

Is my goal realistic? What did I feel? Where was I successful? What didn’t work? Were there any challenges along the way? Where could I try again? What needs to be adapted? How did I feel the next day?

Step 7: Try again.

Celebrate that I at least tried the bedtime ritual to start that routine and break my old routine. Now I have awareness and the opportunity to try again. Eventually, it will become a ritual I won’t have to track it all.


If you were to start a new routine, what would the steps look like to start you off in making that first step towards habit? Let’s keep moving forward together!

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