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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Terri K. Lankford, LPC, NCC, LCAS

Routine… Ruin Everything OR Rule The World?

There seems to be two major types of people in the world, or at least that come into my office, and they become easily identifiable when I begin to ask them about what their daily life looks like.

I ask them about their routine.

The first type will very blasé-like, maybe laugh even, and talk about how “go with the flow” they are. No need for routine here. But then they can’t seem to get their life together in some way or another or their mental health is suffering. The second type can break out their calendar on their phone, bust open their paper-form planner, and show me all of their to-do lists that they check each box off on every day. But they can’t relax at all and are high strung and anxious all of the time.

While there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer on HOW to keep up with the things that get you going everyday, there are certain ways that work best for each individual. The thing is though: EVERYONE has a routine, even if you don’t want to admit it or simply don’t recognize it yet.

Think about it… When you wake up in the morning, do you set an alarm or arise naturally? (PS If you get to wake up naturally you’re totally #winning at life) In what order do you go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, or grab your first drink of water? What do you do next? In the evenings, again, in what order do you prepare to go to bed or do you just fall in with all of your clothes on? How does your weekday or workday look different from you weekends or you days off and/or vacations?

It’s easy to get caught up in the very black and white nature of looking at having a routine, but where’s the grey area? How do you transition from being super rigid to easily relaxed? Is this just a character trait or a skill we can adapt to and learn?

We are creatures of habit. We learn as kids and then hone in our skills whether you realize it or not. IF you had to think about EVERY SINGLE STEP in brushing your teeth every morning, putting your shoes on, or powering up your laptop, what room would be left over for the more important, higher level of thinking? Think about when you first learned to drive… you had to think about EVERY STEP. Fasten your seatbelt. Key in ignition. Turn the key. Adjust your mirrors. Put car in gear. Put your foot on the gas pedal. Not too much! You get the picture…These activities become a HABIT for your. They become ROUTINE.

So what happens when we are thrown off our routine or fail to have one that aligns with our goals? Even if its just a missing piece? I found that out a few months ago. Not realizing just how much my dog was integrated into my daily tasks - from walking upstairs to brushing my teeth to working out in my garage every morning - she was no longer there. And my anxiety sky rocketed. My motivation decreased.

We pair or associate certain people, places, or things along with our habits. This is a part of why its SO hard to break the habits we recognize aren’t that great for us. HOWEVER.. it can also be a key piece into creating new healthier habits as well!

Everything is figureoutable. Every new habit can be built or deconstructed.

The point is - what habits or anchors can you make a part of your routine that will set you up for success?

What is success for you? What goals are you trying to reach? In Health? In Relationships? In Business? In Life?

No matter which side of the fence you sit on with routines ruining things or routines helping you be badass try this out:

REALLY pay attention today or this week. Are you engaging in activities that are CONSISTENTLY helping you get to where you want to be? If you have one piece of the puzzle missing - maybe its not being in your own bed if you’re traveling or the fan isn’t on at night when you try to sleep, your favorite mug is still in the dishwasher dirty from the night before or you’ve misplaced your ______ (fill in the blank here) or for me, my dog is gone and who knew I associated her with EVERYTHING I do?!

If you make the healthy, positive habits a part of your routine… How much can you get accomplished? How great can you feel? How much more time can you gain in the day to do what you WANT instead of what you HAVE to do?

Below is a compiled list of top health habits that anchor you down in a good routine.

  1. Get enough sleep.

  2. Drink more water.

  3. Move your body every hour.

  4. Exercise Daily

  5. Cook More.

  6. Meditate

  7. Watch Less TV

  8. Practice Gratitude Daily

  9. Listen to your favorite music (Daily Theme Songs are amazing!)

  10. Take a vitamin supplement

  11. Eat more Vegetables

  12. Track your expenses/spending

  13. Read Daily - For Personal Growth & Pleasure

  14. Prioritize

  15. Get outside. That’s right. Every Day. Even if it’s for 2 minutes.

  16. Unplug (that’s right - step away from the phone, tablet, or computer)

  17. Practice good communication skills

  18. Practice positive self talk

  19. Write. It. Down. (Set goals and remind yourself of them)

  20. Invest 15-30 minutes in doing a hobby you enjoy and find relaxing

How many of these do YOU do?


Want more Resources or Habit Lists to tune? Check these out!

Below is a compiled list of top health habits that anchor you down in a good routine.


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Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.


I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.


I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 


Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.


Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)


All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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