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The Power of Routine


Routine- what we do and the order in which we do it day in and day out. The word ‘routine’ may seem dull, perfunctory, or just plain dull. However, if set up effectively, routines can help ensure we have structured our day to increase our odds of success. One event that upended nearly everyone’s routine was the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic wore on researchers found this- that daily routines help one to cope with change. New routines were needed then just as they are now!

Routines & Sports Rituals

To observers, there are times a routine becomes a ritual. Professional athletes are known for their quirky rituals which are often called superstitions, especially in baseball. Major League Baseball players often eat a specific pre-game meal, mindfully avoid stepping on any chalk lines on the field, and shy away from talking about a no-hitter during the game.

Basketball is no exception. Allstar point guard Russell Westbrook began his routine precisely three hours before every tip-off. He ate the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich, toasted with butter on wheat bread cut diagonally, and practiced on court three before every home game.

Why do athletes go to such lengths? Because routines do one very important thing for us. They get us in the correct mindset for a given task or event.

Key Takeaways and Strategies for Routines

  • Create space in your routine that gives you time for solitude and stillness each day- before the world starts spinning around you demanding your attention.

  • Start with the biggest rocks. You can begin building your routine by time-blocking your calendar with your most important activities that are now part of your custom-made day.
  • Know when you’re at your best for a given task. You’re not the same person in the afternoon that you were in the morning.
  • Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. Guard your first few hours to practice the routine you’ve established. 
  • Make time each morning to practice gratitude. A good way to start is by keeping a journal and noting what you’re grateful for.
  • Avoid jumping on your phone first thing in the morning to check emails or social media. Brain expert Jim Kwik says we are highly suggestible after waking and the dopamine effect from using our phones leaves us distracted later in the day.
  • Practice ignoring things. Focused attention creates better results.  Turn off your email and phone notifications at specific times to avoid the pitfall of distraction.
  • Remember everything you say yes to is saying no to something else. Make it a routine to say no when necessary.
  • Without a routine, the circumstances of the day often dictate what we do leaving us in a reactionary state.
  • Avoid just ‘checking’ your email. Create a routine that once you’ve viewed an email you will do one of three things with it: do it then, delegate it to someone else, defer it to another time, and create a calendar event. 
  • Routines make discipline achievable by creating the space needed for new habits.
  • Routines free up your mind to be more creative not being weighed down with several small decisions you’ve already made automatically part of your day.
  • Begin the night before. Going to the gym? Pack your bag the night before so you’re not tempted to find an excuse not to be ready. 
  • Check your calendar for the following day to avoid any surprises. 
  • Do something difficult. Typically the first few hours after your morning routine is the best time to tackle a difficult task. In doing so, you will have more confidence for other tasks later in the day.
  • And most importantly, forgive yourself when you mess up or break your routine. Your goal is to improve not to be perfect. 

Wittingly or not, each of us has a routine. What’s yours? Do you want to create a new routine or change it and why? Share your experience in the comment section below.

-Shannon Hicks


Editor in Chief:
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
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