When I was a younger person I disliked habits. I thought people who did the same thing at the same time every day were boring. I thought routines were a sign of unoriginality.
I didn’t like mushrooms either.
Now I do like mushrooms, and I have a routine. My routine gives me certain parts of the day that are consistent, for which to build the rest of my life around. It also sets boundaries on things I have to do, giving them a time to get done without letting them leech too much into the other parts of my life.
All creatures thrive on routine. Horse herds move predictably throughout the day. Dogs are more relaxed in structured environments. I try to keep my routine natural. Its basic purpose is to make my daily life as stress-free as possible. Because stress is bad for health, happiness, and creativity alike.
Also I make sure that missing any one part of my routine won’t ruin the rest of my day. The idea of the routine is to make myself more resilient, not less.
choose your own habits
The trickiest part of the routine, by far, is sticking with it during off periods. Some days I get up, sit down with my coffee, and I just want to goof off on the internet instead of write my (routine prescribed) 1,500 words of fiction. So then I have a choice. I can either blow my routine and hope I’ll get back to it tomorrow, or I can force myself to write.
If you force yourself into a routine and a process enough days in a row, it stops feeling forced and turns into a habit. Habits are hard to break, which is why good habits can do more to help you accomplish your goals than anything else.