If you are like most people on the planet, then there’s a high chance that you have a daily routine; something that you do day in day out or when you wake up in the morning. The Independent cites science about daily routines that says it is ideal if your routine includes an intense workout that gets the blood pumping, opting not to shower (which seems odd given the workout suggestion) and making sure you eat a healthy breakfast instead of taking a multivitamin.
Maybe your morning routine looks a little bit like that and you always make sure that you have a good brekkie. Cereal brands such as Cheerios bank on this, making their money from the people who eat the same cereal every day because it’s familiar and an important part of a routine they’ve had for years. Or, maybe you’re one of the many people who don’t eat breakfast at all. According to a survey from the Morning Mealscape, 31 million Americans skip breakfast altogether!
The point is, whatever you do in the morning, it’s likely you do it with some regularity. But are these routines practical, or is there another reason for this repetition that we all – to some extent at least – tend to choose to have in our lives?
Why Do We Do Have These Daily Routines?
You may be thinking that the reason we have these daily routines is simply that they make sense. If science suggests that having a good breakfast is a good idea and we feel more energised after having run a mile in the morning, then it makes sense to do those things every day. That’s not the only reason that we have routines, however.
According to Develop Good Habits, psychology has a lot to do with it. Psychology is actually a reason for routines as well as a reason why we seem unable to stick to routines, e.g that workout plan that gets us muscle or the plan to be productive that always seems to end about 20 minutes in. DGH explains that certain things, such as a lack of time, negatively impact our ability to stick to a routine because it means our attention is fleeting between one unfinished task and another. Time to focus and time to relax go hand in hand.
Another aspect of psychology to consider is that different tasks have a different cognitive load. In the example given by the publication, a more complex sum requires greater brainpower than simple addition such as 2+2. Things that we do a lot require less cognitive load and may make us more effective at those tasks, which is why something such as our daily routine can feel effortless (and why someone else’s daily routine may sound like hard work!)
What Else Does Repetition Impact?
Having a daily routine or a morning routine aren’t the only things that repetition can impact – the part of us that gets us showered, eating breakfast, and doing 20 jumping jacks (in that order) doesn’t just switch off at 9 AM sharp.
Repetition especially affects how we spend money. Consider your daily health and beauty regime – for example, that makeup that you put on every day. If you use a certain brand of makeup every day, then because of the familiarity and their place in your routine, you may be more inclined to buy the same brand’s products in the future. Likewise, Betway Casino explains how slot games keep us spinning, i.e playing over and over again, using familiarity. Slot machines do this with the use of familiar themes (that’s why there are tie-ins with brands and media properties you already know) as well as eye contact (characters that keep our gaze), and even nostalgia for things you may have engaged with in the past. It’s even why marketing campaigns use jingles – the repetition of the lyrics and the melody keep us thinking about those brands. The “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle used by McDonald’s is one of the most famous examples of this idea.
Is Having a Routine Good for Us?
Now that you understand well how psychology leads us to have routines and also how to form them for yourself, on purpose rather than through convenience, you may be wondering whether or not having a routine is good for us. You may have heard the term “stuck in your ways” and you may have been accused of being stubborn, but is sticking to your guns when it comes a routine actually a good thing?
It depends on what you do. If your routine involves smoking a cigarette at regular intervals, then most medical professionals will recommend that you give that up. And there are obvious ways you can improve your routine, perhaps adopting the habits of successful people, including daily journaling and making a list of goals for improvement. But in general, having a routine is just fine. Other top habits of successful people as listed by LMA Recruitment include appreciating quiet time and waking up early.
So go forth and do the things you do most days. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect and that includes your (good) habits too.