Three Routines That Have Improved Our Life

We recently wrote about creating lasting habits. One of the tools we shared in that post was to “make the change automatic by adding a small addition to something else you already do.” We thought that it might be useful to share some of the routines (or habit chains) we have formed.

We have three basic routines we do each day. These have been invaluable in helping us sleep better, get more exercise, and increasing how efficient our days are. Our three routines are:

  • Morning: get up and get ready for the day.
  • After supper: reconnect with each other after the day apart.
  • Evening: prepare for a good night's sleep.

Each of these routines was created one step at a time. As we mastered one habit, we would add another. Sometimes after trying a habit for a while, we decided it wasn’t the right habit for us, and we would try something different. In some cases, a morning habit was shifted to the evening. Each of these routines needs to work for us. Each habit needs to be worth our time and effort or else it gets removed.

Here is what our routines currently look like:

Morning Routine (all times are AM):

  • 5:00 - We both wake up, ask each other how we slept.
  • 5:02 - Kelli gets in the shower.
  • 5:08 - Kelli gets out of the shower, and Nathan gets in, usually a kiss is exchanged.
  • 5:09 - Kelli gathers her toothbrush, lotion, comb, and medication onto the counter, each one gets put away as she finishes with them.
  • 5:14 - Nathan hops out of the shower.
  • 5:15 - Nathan gathers his toothbrush and razor out of the drawer putting each one away as he finishes.
  • 5:15 - Kelli starts making the bed.
  • 5:20 - Nathan comes into the bedroom and helps finish making the bed.
  • 5:21 - We weigh ourselves and record our weights on our phones. We review each other's weight charts to encourage and congratulate each other.
  • 5:22 - We pray together.
  • 5:23 - We kiss and give each other a 30 second good morning hug.
  • 5:24 - We say individual prayers.
  • 5:25 - We run 5 flights of stairs.
  • 5:28 - We do leg lifts for 30 seconds.
  • 5:30 - We go for a morning walk
  • 6:00 - Then we continue with the day.

After Dinner Routine (all times are PM):

  • 5:30 - Nathan records highlights from his work day (snippets).
  • 5:30 - Kelli puts on makeup.
  • 5:35 - We review Nathan’s snippets together.
  • 5:40 - We review the children’s school work together.
  • 5:45 - We review Kelli’s empathy journal.
  • 5:55 - We talk about books and blog posts we read that day.
  • 6:05 - We study our scriptures together.
  • 6:20 - Then we continue with the evening.

Night Time Routine (all times are PM):

  • 7:30 - Get kids ready for and into bed.
  • 8:00 - Time together.
  • 8:50 - Review tomorrow’s schedule.
  • 9:00 - Go to sleep.

Each of these routines are close to identical each day. This consistency enables us to:

  • Know exactly what each other is doing.
  • Allows us to get faster over time. For example we have reduced our morning routine by 15 minutes.
  • Reduces the number of decisions we have to make allowing us to have more mental energy throughout the rest of the day.

We occasionally review our routines to decide if there is a new habit we would like to add or if there is any habit we should remove. For example we used to review our schedule for the day each morning after we said our morning prayers. Over time we noticed that this usually took longer than expected, slowed down our routine, and required more thinking in the morning than we wanted. So when we started to create our evening routine a few months ago we shifted that habit to the evening. This also allowed us to add more exercise to our morning routine.

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In the past nine months we have worked hard to create routines to make our lives easier. Now when things get stressful we have these anchors in our day where we don’t have to worry about what is happening and when. Routines have made it easier for us to form new habits in our life, and we would encourage you to try this out in your life as well.

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The purpose of “The Couple Project” is to learn more about what makes a strong marriage or relationship. We share what we are learning, which ideas we are trying, and which ideas helped improve our relationship. We realize not everything that works for us will work for you, but we still hope you will find our journey valuable.

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