For many of us out there in the world at large, looking for opportunities to improve one or another aspect of our lives is something that can end up taking a significant amount of time, energy, and attention.
It might be, in your particular case, that you’d really prefer to have a different job and to do something else for a living over the course of any given day or week. Or, it may be the case that you really want to make a physical fitness routine a part of your life in a way that it’s never been before so that you can turn your attention towards some event such as a marathon down the line.
In order to seek out areas of improvement in everyday life, many people will investigate a wide range of different avenues, from searching up terms such as weight loss clinic near me online, to signing up for dedicated training courses, and more.
Ultimately, though, it may just be the case that something as straightforward as having a set daily routine — instead of just “winging it” day by day — might have a tremendous impact in helping to improve your life in a range of different ways, across the board.
Here are a few ways that a set daily routine can improve your life.
By helping you to be more attuned to subtle changes in how you feel
According to some commentators and experts — including some monks themselves such as ShunmyoMasuno — one of the key reasons why Japanese Zen Buddhist monks maintain rigid and fixed daily schedules and routines is because doing so makes them more attentive to the subtle changes and experiences in everyday life.
If you wake up at the same time every day, go to sleep at the same time every day, eat meals at the same times every day, and eat the same sorts of foods every day, anything that falls even slightly outside of the form becomes immediately noticeable.
Not only can this help you to get more “in tune” with yourself and to more reliably sense variations in your mood and physical state of being, but it can also help you to better notice and appreciate the small moments and features of everyday life — such as a butterfly landing on your windowsill.
This level of heightened awareness can lead to a richer experience of life as a whole, and it can also help you to practice more reliable forms of self-care and to notice when something is a bit off and needs to be investigated and dealt with.
When your everyday life is devoid of routine, on the other hand, it can be. Impossible to notice these subtler variations and experiences, as they will be drowned out by the noise that you encounter day by day and moment by moment.
By giving you the structure you need to pursue and achieve your goals
Just looking at things from a simple and pragmatic vantage point, it’s all but impossible to successfully work towards and achieve most sorts of goals, if you aren’t able to add a significant degree of structure to your days and your endeavors as a whole.
If you dream of becoming an entrepreneur, for example, it should go without saying that you will need to work pretty diligently and consistently at starting up your business and getting it off the ground, including on days when you have other things to deal with, and when you aren’t feeling at your best.
If you want to save up for a new home, you will likewise need to be quite disciplined about managing and tracking your finances over a prolonged period of time.
Following a set structure and routine in your daily life can go a long way towards giving you the kind of framework that can help you to pursue and achieve your goals across multiple different dimensions of your life.
By helping to improve your sleep and digestion
Sleep is vitally important for all of us, and it has a tremendous impact on everything from the state of our health, to our ability to reliably memorize details and carry out problem-solving tasks.
Unfortunately today, sleep deprivation is extremely common according to leading researchers including Matthew Walker, author of the famous book “Why We Sleep.”
Not only do many of us just not sleep for enough hours each night, but the quality of the sleep we get also tends to be a lot lower than it should be.
Interestingly, one of the most important things for ensuring that you get the best quality of sleep that you can each night is to maintain a regular sleep schedule — and to go to sleep at the same time each night.
A similar process seems to happen for digestion too, according to the researcher Satchin Panda who has extensively investigated the circadian rhythm. Specifically, he says, our bodies get primed for effective digestion when we consistently eat at set times each day.
Having set and consistent daily routines may work wonders in terms of helping to improve both your sleep and also your digestion and energy levels.
By keeping you away from destructive spirals
Unfortunately, one setback can often easily end up causing a domino effect that leads to a vicious cycle developing.
Perhaps you miss a deadline one day, and then miss out on sleep trying to catch up, and then are more exhausted and disorganized the next day, and before you know it things just seem to be unraveling overall.
Maintaining a set and consistent daily routine can help to keep you away from these sorts of destructive spirals and can help to quickly put you back on the right track when things do begin to veer somewhat in the wrong direction.
But if you don’t have those kinds of set routines in place, it can all too easily end up happening that one setback is enough to completely disrupt you and throw off your sense of balance, order, and direction.