5 Ways to Finally Accomplish What You Pushed Off
“Routines” can sometimes feel synonymous with “boring”. But really, the word routine should be linked to the word accomplished.
Routines are the best way to help you actually get something done. Per Northwestern Medicine, people sleep better, manage stress levels, and have stronger overall health when sticking to a routine.
Routines are also a great way to check off that huge item that’s been on your list forever. Maybe it’s writing a book, running a marathon, or starting a podcast. As the Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number shows, the foundation for a strong routine starts in the bedroom.
Evaluate Your Day
Here’s a new way of thinking of your day. Instead of thinking your day starts when you wake up, start thinking that your day starts when you go to bed. How well you sleep tonight dictates how productive/creative/happy you’re going to feel tomorrow. Creating a routine is harder if your sleep is inconsistent. By developing a comforting, relaxing bedtime routine, you can aim for a consistent sleep schedule. You’ll then be more likely to accomplish the other items in your daytime routine. Dave Chesson, founder of Kindlepreneur, noticed that after putting his kids to bed, he was spending time watching movies and Netflix.
“There was nothing productive there,” he says. “For me to consistently build and hone my skills, I needed to cut out that extra fat.”
Instead of spending time watching movies, Chesson adjusted his sleep schedule so he’s in bed by 8:30 p.m. and up at 4 a.m. to write. By adding writing into his morning routine, Chesson was able to complete his first book outside of his day job. He’s since retired and is now a full-time writer — but his routine hasn’t wavered.
“Early morning is the one time of day where you can truly control everything,” he says. “Nobody’s on Facebook, and no five-year-olds are walking down the hall saying they’re hungry.”
Chesson believes that without a set schedule, he wouldn’t have accomplished his goals, which includes writing nine books and helping several other writers get published.
Define Your Goals
Chesson relies on what he’s learned when chatting with others aspiring to write a book or reach another major accomplishment. His first tip? Truly define why you’re setting your goal.
“Think through why you’re doing this,” he says. “For me, it was to get more time with my children. That was more than enough reason to get up in the morning and make sure I didn’t quit when the going got tough. Success is more likely with a defined goal.”
Once the goal is laid out, you can begin building your routine.
Write Things Down
Jess Kennedy, host of the Girl, Get It Together podcast, credits her routine with keeping her energized throughout the day. Writing down a routine can help you achieve it more easily, she says, and might open your eyes in other ways.
“The first week of my routine, I got a planner and tracked my daily schedule, hour by hour,” Kennedy says. “Writing it all down was really enlightening for me. By tracking my time, I found I was wasting time when I could be accomplishing other things.”
Dr. Liza Varvogli, a psychotherapist and stress management professor, also writes down her routine, and encourages everyone to try a simple experiment: write down three things you want to accomplish and see how you feel. Then, when you check them off –even if they’re small – your mood will improve. As Dr. Varvogli writes in a Medium post, crossing items off of a list provides a sense of effectiveness, boosts self-esteem, and builds optimism.
Call on a Friend
It can be challenging to begin a routine. From determining what to include to adjustments in your schedule to summoning the motivation to accomplish your goals, obstacles may pop up along the way. Keep yourself accountable by starting the routine with a friend.
Jim Lynch, host of the Feel Good Running podcast, has run 101 marathons. Lynch’s brother challenged him to run his first marathon, and he immediately caught the running bug. Along the way, Lynch gained friends that were also committed to running, and he completed marathons in all 50 states with a running partner. After that milestone, he joined a running group. Lynch credits both his marathon friend and running group for supporting him, helping him stick to his routine and keeping him motivated.
“If it weren’t for that running group, I don’t think I would have reached 100 marathons,” Lynch says. “They really helped revitalize me.”
Part of Lynch’s routine is getting a good night’s sleep. He notices a dip in energy when he’s not well rested.
“I don’t necessarily have a bad run, but I do drag the rest of the day,” Lynch says. “I’m not as motivated if I don’t get enough sleep.”
Go Step By Step
If a new routine sounds overwhelming, you might be trying to accomplish too many things at once.
Kennedy’s most successful routines have thrived by only introducing one or two new items at a time. Once she’s comfortably incorporated those new items, she’ll add one or two more. She’s also recognized that starting or adjusting to a new routine isn’t something most people can do right away. It might take weeks or even months to make it a daily occurrence, and that’s okay.
“I used to be really rigid about my routine and get bent out of shape if I didn’t follow it perfectly,” Kennedy says. Over the years, she’s learned to be more forgiving of herself, and she’s seen the benefits in accomplishing her larger goals. “That’s what’s great about routines — you get to start over every day. Give yourself a little flexibility.”
To learn more about creating a great bedtime routine and improving your sleep habits, try the free Sleep30® Challenge by Sleep Number.
Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.