Routines – a Powerful Force for Health and Wealth

You probably go to your doctor for an annual wellness check up. Most folks visit the dentist once every so often to get their teeth cleaned and checked, but do you do a routine checkup once a year?

Wait, you say, aren’t both of those routine checkups?

What I mean is, do you annually set aside time to look at how you are spending your time to decide if your routines and habits are working for you, or against you?

Our routines can be a powerful force to help us and our family accomplish great things, or, they can be a destructive and time wasting monster, causing us stress, money and waste.

Effective people, like Ben Franklin or Steve Jobs, checked themselves every day. Franklin is said to have asked himself every day – “What good will I do today”. Jobs started the day asking whether he would do what was planned for that day if he knew it was his last.

Below are some ways that routines can work FOR you. If you aren’t using these, consider starting. When you are tempted to skip your routine that day, remember that it is working for you and just do it.

Routines make you be healthier.

The health of your body is strongly influenced by what you do to it and for it each day.

Studies have shown that morning exercisers are more apt to stick with it longer. Years ago (around 1984) , I started an at home, morning exercise habit that continues to this day (in 2015). At 66, I’m still fit and have few health problems. Getting my exercise in before other things interfere makes it easier to keep it up. Knowing that I have already accomplished something before heading off for the day makes me feel good about myself. Doing some part of the routine, even if I don’t have enough time or energy for all of it gives me a boost.

Our Mom’s all taught us to brush our teeth, yet most of us still have tooth issues. My family has a genetic history of tooth and gum disease, which I have so far avoided.

Regular checkups and cleaning along with a morning routine of brushing with an electric tooth brush and flossing (a total of 4 minutes) has kept my hygienist saying that my home health care is exceptional and has kept me from having bleeding around the gums, cavities or other dental issues.

Eating habits and routines play a key role in our health.  Changing what we eat, how we eat and when we eat is difficult to do, yet if we succeed it may lead to avoidance of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer and other insults to a healthy body.

  • When my grown son wanted to lose weight, he started by convincing himself not to eat after 7 PM, no matter what. He lost weight.
  • My daughter-in-law has already taught her children to only eat a single ‘serving size’ of treats. If the package says 2 cookies is a serving, that is all they get.
  • You train yourself to be hungry every time you eat. If you have a snack each afternoon, your body will call for it. If you eat before bed each night, you will feel hungry. Conversely, if you eat wholesome meals at specific times of the day and don’t graze on junk at other times, your body will eventually adjust and not crave the junk.

Routines make you more efficient.

Putting your keys in the same place each time you come home saves time and stress searching for them. Checking your in basket only for certain time limits at certain times of the day forces you to touch each mail once and be done and sets other people’s expectations that you might not respond instantaneously!

You can become wealthy using routines.

Saving money is merely a financial routine.

A routine that you can automate to make it part of your world. Likewise, when you have saved enough, investing is also a financial routine. Payroll deductions into your investment account as well as reinvested dividends and capital gains make investing an automatic routine.

Building a great credit score comes naturally with good financial routines.

Paying bills on time, every time is a routine that goes miles towards improving your credit score. Paying a credit card bill in full each time and on time not only saves outrageous interest charges, it also helps keep you out of debt and boosts your credit score. Miss on time one or two times and watch your score take a dip.

Financial record keeping routines can save you money.

Knowing what you have and where you have it helps you track and control your finances. Tracking and controlling your finances helps you avoid unnecessary expenses. For instance, if you are in the habit of knowing what is in your account, you will know if you are about to over draw. This allows you to avoid hefty overdraft fees.

Knowing where your money is and which ATMs to get it from without a fee helps you avoid expensive out of network fees.

Household routines make better children.

Studies have shown that children with consistent routines tend to thrive. Reading together at bedtime not only helps improve your child’s vocabulary, reading skills and knowledge but also helps you bond and them settle down to sleep.

Having a set time for homework, screen time, physical activity and meals helps your child through their day with less stress. Knowing what to expect and when it will occur or where help to make your child feel secure. Routines help you set expectations. With routines and expectations, parents spend less time and energy getting their children to do what is needed or desired.

Routines help you get boring or unpleasant work done.

Most of us have at least some aspects of our work that has to be done, but isn’t necessarily that enjoyable.

Even home projects that we choose to do, want to do and know we will enjoy when done, can have boring parts to them.

I once set out to re-paint two bedrooms in our home that the prior owner had splatter painted (her girls had loaded up paint brushes with different colors of paint and just flicked their wrists to splatter the paint onto the walls). The paint had to be sanded to a smooth base before I could re-paint. This was an incredibly boring and time-consuming job. The way I tackled it was to set up a routine where I would sand for only 1/2 hour each evening – no matter what else was going on. Once my half hour was up, I was free to pursue other activities. Sure, it took awhile to get done, but it did get done!

What routines have you found productive, healthy and helpful? Do you consciously review your habits and routines on a periodic basis?


Comments

Routines – a Powerful Force for Health and Wealth — 1 Comment

  1. This has been a challenge of mine for a long time. I tend to be cluttered and do things in sprints. I do find that I tend to do better when I track data about the routine. It helps to keep things in order and hold myself accountable for slipping.

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