Daily Non-Negotiables – Habits, Rituals, and Routines

Spontaneity is great and fun, but not to bookend the day (aka morning and nighttime). Routine morning and nighttime activities set us up to be at our best throughout the rest of the day (time during which the most unexpected things happen) and prepare us for our best sleep. Those of us who have kids know that some structure and routine helps kids thrive by keeping them grounded and helping them feel safe. At some point in our lives, many of us veer from routine and start to live haphazardly from day to day. While this might work for some long-term, the rest of us start to see negative effects like sleep problems and low productivity. It would benefit us greatly to institute structure at least for morning and night.

I regularly listen to Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness Podcast and he asks most guests to describe their daily routine or daily non-negotiables. I love to hear the habits of some of the most successful people in this world. I also happened upon two podcasts recently that spoke to this very topic:

There’s plenty of evidence and research showing the benefits of ritual and routine, so I ask you to ponder this for yourself:

“What are your daily non-negotiables (rituals or habits that you do every day)?” Or, “what does your typical day look like?”

I’ve always been a routine person and find my daily routine to be something that adds structure to my life (something I very much thrive on!) and helps keep me grounded when the middle part of my days is often unpredictable. While the middle part of each days looks a little different from day to day, there are definitely some core elements I try to maintain as much as I can. This is my “typical” day (note that I am in no way saying my day is something to be modeled! I just personally find it interesting to hear how people live their lives and I often get ideas to try from other’s daily habits):

  • Wake up to my alarm between 5 and 5:30am on most days. No snoozing for this lady!
  • Scrape my tongue (using this). I started doing this a few months ago after hearing Kimberly Snyder talk about it on her podcast and I really like doing it. It’s a common Ayurvedic practice and it feels good to me to get all that gunk off my tongue first thing.
  • Head to the kitchen to make a cup of hot water with lemon, amla powder, and moringa powder. I use my electric tea pot to heat the water and usually end up drinking about 2 cups full while I sit.
  • Read my Bible, do a daily devotional, pray, and journal or jot down thoughts in my 5 Minute Journal. While I’ve journaled off and on for years in a standard blank page journal, my functional medicine doc recently gave me 5 Minute Journal and I love it!
  • Go to the potty (hopefully!)
  • Head to the basement or outside for exercise / movement. What I do varies from day to day, I always move my body in some way first thing.
  • Short meditation or sound therapy (I really like Holosync) and did a 5-day challenge with a free version that I’ve continued to listen to until a few weeks ago when it was suddenly no longer available. Now they have only about 7 minutes of uninterrupted sound that is available for free on SoundCloud. Fast forward to the last 7 minutes of this. I’ve also used the Headspace app on my iPhone and still think it’s great, but I prefer using the sounds only at this point.
  • Head upstairs to get the kids’ breakfast and lunch ready and wait for their arrival to the kitchen.
  • Hugs and kisses for Scott and the kids. I make an effort to start every day on a positive note with by making the first interaction with another human a positive one (most often the other early riser in the house, our 9-year old son). This doesn’t always mean the rest of the day goes smoothly but it certainly helps to start out in a positive way!
  • Get the kids off to school.
  • Make and drink the first part of my breakfast. I’m currently into an almost all greens and herbs smoothie with a bit of avocado, lemon juice, and a small amount of Granny Smith apple. This changes from time to time of course.
  • Kitchen work (cleaning up, washing, chopping, prepping, etc.).
  • At some point mid-morning I typically have an additional small smoothie. Lately I’ve been experimenting with high-fat smoothies that are low in fruit and I toss in a little protein powder and a few greens for good measure. This is something new for me but it feels good on my body right now!
  • On with the rest of my day. The mornings are usually filled with errands, appointments, and meetings with friends.
  • Lunch at home.
  • Computer work with my daily cup of coffee.
  • Get kids from the bus stop.
  • Late afternoons / evenings all look a little different but I try to get in about 30 minutes of yoga / movement in the late afternoon while the kids have some screen time.
  • Last minute dinner prep and prepping lunches for the next day.
  • Dinner as a family (or whoever is here!).
  • Evening activities that vary from day to day.
  • Bedtime for the kids.
  • Finish up anything left in the kitchen.
  • Head to the couch with a little snack to read, get on Pinterest, etc.
  • Off to bed to read and pass out around 10pm.
  • Then it’s rinse and repeat the next day!

I feel good about my morning and nighttime routines but could use some more structure during the day so that I can be more productive. I tend to multi-task which typically means I get a little of a lot of things done instead of conquering some of the bigger projects I always “hope” to get to. I’ll be working on that!


I’d love to hear about your typical day so please share in the comments section below!