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Create Positive Routines

by Beth on September 26th, 2011

Increasing positivity in our lives requires intentional effort. There are many things that we can do in order to experience more positive emotions, but sometimes it is hard to remember to do them with all that we have going on in our crazy lives. That’s why we need to establish positive routines.

It isn’t enough just to tell ourselves that we need to do something. Research shows that willpower is like a muscle that gets fatigued with use. In one study people who had not eaten for 3 hours were asked to resist eating cookies on a plate in front of them. Then they were given puzzles to solve. Compared to the control group, their performance solving puzzles was much worse because their willpower to focus on the task had been weakened by having to resist the temptation to eat the cookies.

Making decisions can be exhausting. This might explain why many of us spend our weekends sitting in front of the TV. After making decisions all week long at work we don’t have the energy left to decide what activities we’d like to do when we finally have time off.

Creating rituals is a great way to limit the amount of decisions we have to make and ensure that we do what we know we should be doing. Routines prevent us from having to constantly make choices, which exhausts our willpower.

I have built a number of routines into my day to help me stay positive. One of the first things I do every morning is put on my gym clothes. My routine is to hit the gym before I start the rest of my day. Another ritual is to think about what I am grateful for on my way to the gym. I try to meditate at the same time everyday so I don’t arrive at the end of the day not having found the time to work it into my schedule. Finally, I go to bed at about the same time every night.

Routines make things easier, which makes it more likely that things get done. My routines keep me exercising, feeling grateful, calming my mind, and getting enough sleep. What routines help you stay positive?

If you’d like even more help staying happy check out the Live Happy app that prompts you to engage in happiness boosting activities throughout the day.

From → Goals, Well-being

  1. Beth – great thoughts here. I’m on the first day of a new routine, and like you say, it takes a lot of energy to make decisions. I’m reading “Willpower” right now, which explains why that’s the case.

    Off to check out the Live Happy app!

  2. Beth permalink

    Hi Steve — thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. Best of luck with your new routine and enjoy “Willpower”. Fascinating how our brain works!

  3. Ester permalink


    Great words and thoughts! Routines and discipline could be similar? do you think that employees need of both?


  4. Terrific post! I could write more here, as to how difficult I find creating good routines – but enough to say, I am going to try again tomorrow 😉 thanks for the boost!

  5. Beth permalink

    Hola Ester! I think routines help you stay disciplined. So having some routines for employees to keep them positive and productive is a great idea. But I also think employees need autonomy and too much discipline can hurt creativity. So there needs to be a balance.

  6. Beth permalink

    Thanks, Darleen! Best of luck!

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