Building a Routine to Reflect, Release, and Reset

How trying to create an evening routine led me to a deeper understanding
By Danae Smith
Danae Smith
Danae Smith
Danae Smith is the founder of This Wondrous Life, a lifestyle blog rooted in pursuing a life lived simply, slowly, and with community. She believes there is more to the mundane than meets the eye. You can also find her on Instagram.
October 28, 2021 Updated: October 28, 2021

The hard part of routines isn’t building or creating them, but maintaining them. I’ll start an evening routine and it’ll last a few days before it’s engulfed with other things. Can you relate?

I’m choosing to not give up on it, but the ups and downs with this particular routine are difficult. I believe daily routines are a tool that can help us become more paced, aware, and grounded in the things that matter to us. While I believe that, I also believe routines get to ebb and flow. They get to be what you need them to be in a given moment or season. I also believe the simpler, the better.

That’s why I will still show up for this process even if it’s been a struggle. There was a time when my morning routine wasn’t always consistent, but the more I showed up and leaned into it, the more it became habitual and my favorite part of the day.

So, last night, I sat down to start creating an evening routine. I did my usual spiel, asking myself what I wanted to protect, release, and make room for. As I answered, three main intentions stood out to me: reflect, release, and reset.

That’s when it hit me. Maybe the key for sustaining this routine is more than just asking what I want to protect, release, or make room for. Maybe the key is to root my routine in reflecting, releasing, and resetting.

In the past, I would ask myself what I wanted to protect and make room for. This would help me clarify the why of my routine. It still does. I would then list the rituals or practices I’d like to include in my routine; then I would trim that list down to the things that actively protected and made room.

Now, in answering what I want to protect, release, or make room for, I see the one-word intentions that encompass the heart of the routine. This clarity gave me something deep to root my routine in.

If you’ve been struggling with daily routines, I invite you to shift your perspective on the process. I invite you to ask yourself what you want to protect, make room for, or release. As you answer those questions, write down the one-word intentions that encompass the heart of the routine. Choose the rituals or practices that honor those intentions.

In my effort to live a slower, more simple life, there are easy days and challenging days. Sometimes, the daily rituals and routines come easy. Sometimes, being present and aware is second nature. Sometimes, you don’t rush and you move in a measured pace throughout your day. Other times—a lot of times—you feel the tension.

If you’ve been wrestling with your routines and systems, struggling to find your footing in this slow living space, know that I’ve been there and have my days, too.

At the end of the day, it’s a journey we get to define and discover. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important that we take it one day at a time, one routine, one system at a time, knowing that every step—no matter how little or big—counts.

Danae Smith
Danae Smith is the founder of This Wondrous Life, a lifestyle blog rooted in pursuing a life lived simply, slowly, and with community. She believes there is more to the mundane than meets the eye. You can also find her on Instagram.