I recently mentioned to a friend that we have a bedtime routine for Baby Fox, I was met with a response about not being structured enough for that. That was the moment when I started thinking about routines and how they can look different for different people. I also started thinking about how routines get started and realized that there are two different kinds of routines – purposeful routines and natural routines. I’m going to talk a little bit about both of these today and share my top three routines that you should include in your day.

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Each month, I try to pick at least one self improvement book to read. Sometimes the book is related to blogging, other times it’s related to business, and most recently, I’ve selected a book related to parenting. I’m in the process of finishing up The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families at the moment. Some of the books I read inspire me to make changes or motivate me to push further. Others turn out to be flops, which is okay too. You never know if a book is going to be a fit until you take it for a test drive (I may have cars on the brain since we’re working on our September goal of upgrading to a minivan).

My recent read and our attempts to help Baby Fox sleep better have inspired me to take a look at daily routines and how they come to be. In doing so, I realized that there are two types of routines in our lives – purposeful routines and natural routines. Now these aren’t official terms and they aren’t back by any science. Rather, they are terms that I came up with while reflecting on life.

Purposeful routines are those that you set out to create yourself. For example, maybe you want to get in the habit of exercising so you add it into your daily schedule and practice making it a routine. We were purposeful when we created a bedtime routine for Baby Fox. Natural routines are those that you fall into without even realizing it. For example, you probably have a routine that you follow before you go to bed at night. If I were to ask you what you do each night before bed, you would likely be able to tell me. For the purposes of this post, something is a routine if it follows a similar pattern every day or week.

So, what are the three routines that I recommend including in your day?

Morning Routine
You could do something like the Miracle Morning or you could keep it short and simple with “wake up, eat breakfast, brush teeth.” It’s best to tailor the routine to yourself and your lifestyle. I do recommend having a morning routine though. I’m a strong believer that what you do in the morning affects how the rest of your day goes.

Evening (or Bedtime) Routine
Just like your morning routine affects how the rest of your day goes, your nighttime routine influences your night. There are lots of tips out there about how to achieve a better night’s rest so I’m not going to go into detail. Figure out what helps you get a better night’s sleep and start making it a routine.

Meal Routine
Your meal routine is take many forms, both daily and weekly. For us, our meal routine begins with a meal plan and grocery store trip each week. Then each night, our routine includes prepping, cooking, eating, and clean up. I highly recommend making clean up after a meal a regular thing. This helps keep dishes and the kitchen under control. It’s so much easier to clean up immediately rather than letting it pile up.

What do you consider to be your most important routine of the day? I’d love to  hear about it in the comments below!