How to Create an Effective Daily Routine

Weekly RoutineOver the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing important factors for implementing change. Effective goal setting and building a growth mindset are the first two foundation pieces when it comes to creating any kind of new lifestyle habit – even building a business requires these two pieces to be in place.

The next step, though, is just as critical. Part of achieving success comes from forming healthy habits that support you as you’re reaching your goals. A daily routine is one of the simplest and most effective ways to create clarity, consistency, and a sense of efficacy, which is an important intrinsic motivator to keep you striving for your dreams.

The purpose of a routine is to provide guidance on what to do from day to day, week to week, or month to month. It’s a set of activities that you perform regularly enough to provide a sense of security and consistency in your life. In a way it simplifies things by reducing the stress of “what next?”

But there’s an important distinction that needs to be made – routines can either empower you or drain you and keep you stuck. If your day is filled with empty tasks that keep you busy but not productive then you are caught in the cycle of a debilitating routine. People stuck in stagnant routines constantly feel unhappy and dissatisfied but can’t pinpoint why.

Empowering routines, on the other hand, allow you to accomplish short and long-term goals because they bridge the gap between your vision and your daily life. Additionally, when your day-to-day agenda leaves you feeling more energized than drained you know you have developed a routine that is congruent with your vision.

So, how do you build an empowering routine? First, you must identify what matters most to you. I’ll share an example from my own life:

At one time I was trapped in the “busy-ness” mentality. Doing a lot but not accomplishing much. I recognized that I had allowed the pressure of performance and the worthy image of ‘being a hard worker’ to override my values for self-care. You see, the thing that matters most to me is that I am healthy, functioning at a high level and capable of fully showing up for others and myself in ways that are loving and supportive. Only then am I actually effective in my work.

When I sidestep my self-care, I don’t really function that well. I feel overly tired and struggle to concentrate. I use more caffeine than I know is healthy for my body in order to get through the day, and I always feel drained.

In recognizing this, I identified five key factors that support my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health so that I have the energy, clarity, and desire to follow through on the day-to-day tasks that will help me achieve my goals.

I call these key factors my Big 5 of Self-Care – and for me they must be in place if I ever wish to be the productive, happy, engaging, effective, and authentic person that I know I can be:

  1. Sleep – My bedtime is between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. and I wake at 5 a.m. most days. Sometimes I need more rest, so I take it.
  2. Hydration – I start the day with a big glass of water, I limit caffeine and alcohol (while still thoroughly savoring it!) and I maintain consistent fluid intake throughout the day.Filling up a glass with drinking water from kitchen tap
  3. Proper Physical and Spiritual Nourishment – Physical: I avoid foods my body cannot digest, eat when I’m physically hungry, stop when I’m satisfied (rather than full), and delight in new flavors. Spiritual: I begin the day with my journal on the porch; I rate my energy using the P.E.M.S. Scale; I work to operate with a higher consciousness and awareness; I live with a mindset fueled by gratitude, curiosity, and abundance.
  4. Movement – I move my body every day in ways that are inviting, seasonal, and appropriate to my physical energy and fitness goals.
  5. Fun and Playfulness – I seek joy in everything; I laugh and smile as often as possible; I see the opportunity in everything with wonder and delight.

For me, taking care of all aspects of my health allows me to follow through, with clarity and drive, on my day-to-day tasks that ultimately lead me to achieve my bigger goals.

As you figure out how to create your most effective routine, keep these tips in mind:

Identify what really matters to you, then build your schedule around that set of values… and know yourself. If one of your goals is to work out every day but you know it won’t happen unless it’s first thing in the morning, create the kind of schedule that allows you to follow through. Go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier; invest in a home gym or at-home workout program; enlist an early-morning workout buddy or work out at a gym that’s on the way to work.

Set a timeframe for how long your routine will take. For example, if you wake at 5 a.m., how exactly will you spend your time between when you rise and when you need to be out the door? Avoid cramming too much into the morning routine — pick one or two things that set you up for a great mental attitude to take on the day.


Tell someone about your plans. Accountability is recognized in studies and in practice as one of the most effective ways to realize a goal. As social beings we don’t want to be a disappointment and we like praise. Greater accountability can also lead to a deeper sense of connection with others, which fuels happiness.

Be adaptable. We are always evolving. The routine you set in place for this season of your life will at some point normalize and begin to feel ineffective. At that point, repeat the process of identifying what really matters to you and proceed accordingly with a routine that aligns with your new goals or vision.

Goalsetting, fostering a growth mindset, and creating a daily routine can empower you to step into change with clarity, confidence, and drive to achieve your wildest dreams.

In Love & Gratitude,

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Missi Holt

Editor’s Note: Looking to make lasting changes? Missi’s Transformation Challenge changes lives for the better. Learn more about the Transformation Challenge.

Missi Holt

Missi Holt is the fitness and nutrition editor for Early to Rise. She is a master nutrition therapist, certified yoga trainer, Certified Turbulence Trainer and an NSCA certified personal trainer (CPT). She also provides fitness and nutrition therapy through her own organization, Whole Life Health.