The Challenges of Daily Routines

Life can always come up with something unexpected, but that doesn't have to wreck your routine
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 2, 2021 Updated: October 2, 2021

There was a moment when I first started adopting daily routines when I got really frustrated.

It was toward the end of my morning routine. I found myself feeling frantic and rushed. I hadn’t done everything I felt was important to the routine and now had to get ready for work and head out the door. In the swirl of that frustration, it hit me—what was meant to be a respite, a moment of pause, grounding, and fulfillment were becoming burdensome. It had no rhythm, no flow. This couldn’t be how it was meant to be.

Thus began my ongoing journey with daily routines. It hasn’t always been easy or simple, and there have definitely been challenges. That’s what I want to unpack today.

Daily routines are amazing and important but also have their challenges. I don’t want to dive into this practice without acknowledging that it can be difficult. We’re pulled and tugged in various directions—daily. What I’ve learned—and am learning—is that things in life can and likely will impact your daily routine, but they don’t have to derail it.

Starting and Focusing My Daily Routine

Because a daily routine for me is about doing what brings joy, grounds me, and fills me up, I felt like I had to do everything that hit that mark within a certain timeframe. I believed that a daily routine was a schedule and that everything had to happen at an exact time and all of that. Only when I released that and remembered that it wasn’t about doing everything, but doing what mattered, was I able to lean into the beauty daily routines offer.

How to combat not starting or overloading your routine: Start small and build from there. Remember that it’s not about doing everything but doing what matters for you in a given season. Release the expectation that your routine needs to be elaborate. If there’s only one thing that grounds you daily, that one thing is enough.

Restarting an Interrupted Routine

Starting up a routine again after going through transitions and changes is a challenge I’ve recently had to face. Life happens—some of it we can control, most of it we can’t. We move, change jobs or careers, get in and out of a relationship, and so on. There’s an endless list of the ways life can shift. All these transitions and changes will likely affect your daily routine, but they don’t have to derail it.

How to not let life transitions and changes derail your daily routine: Have at least one core tenet, one ritual or practice in your daily routine, that can ebb and flow with you as you navigate transition and change. It should be a ritual or practice that isn’t a huge lift but does ground you. Also, extend grace and compassion to yourself. Lots of things are up in the air when you shift life seasons or go through different transitions. In the words of a friend of mine—it’s OK if the daily routine gets a little messy.

Giving Yourself Permission to Change Your Routine

This challenge could also count as a way to combat challenge No. 2. This is something I feel I’m constantly facing: giving myself permission. As I said, we go through many chapters in our life. Even on a day-to-day level, things come up unexpectedly or your needs and plans shift as the day unravels. Learning to give ourselves permission for things to look different and be different is hard but necessary.

How to start giving yourself permission for your daily routine to look different: Hold your daily routine loosely. Meaning, don’t get married to the routine, but be deeply connected to the why and intention of your daily routine. When you’re connected to your why and intention, how it looks can ebb and flow so long as what it encompasses aligns. Also, check in with yourself often to know what you’re needing. Checking in can help inform what you need or want from your daily routine—especially if you find yourself in a new season of life.

Daily routines are powerful. I believe they’re an important piece to showing up intentionally in our daily lives. They’re a holistic investment in our personhood. Even so, they come with challenges. So remember—many things can affect your daily routine, but they don’t have to derail it.

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.