Can Your Habits Keep You Healthier?

We have all heard about the importance of setting – and sticking to – a routine. However, following a daily routine may be more important to our productivity, mental health, and family connections than we realize. After all, we are what we repeatedly do! 

You may have a routine without even noticing it. In fact, up to 40% of our daily actions are powered by habits. Actions such as brushing your teeth, checking the news, or our route to work are so familiar to us that we no longer think about them. Our routine brings order and control to the chaos of everyday life, managing tasks and effectively controlling our time. A workday routine also increases productivity because it provides a clear directive for how and when we complete tasks, helping us cross tasks off our to do list as the day progresses.  

We frequently associate healthy routines with actions such as working out or going to sleep on time. However, the routines that we establish each day can help alleviate symptoms of mental disorders, insomnia, and anxiety. When we follow a daily plan or schedule, it removes the unpredictability that causes us to feel anxious or stressed. Being calmer throughout the day also helps us to sleep better at night, another key factor in overall mental health.  

Following these routines can also help improve your family health. Sticking to a schedule while getting kids ready for school in the morning, organizing extracurricular activities, and mealtimes and bedtimes can help to remove the chaos of a full house. Setting a daily schedule establishes healthy habits in children. However, don’t forget to account for free time for play, relaxation, or creativity.  

A healthy routine is one that works for you. As you establish a schedule, listen to the cues of your body and mind. If you have trouble falling asleep at 9 PM and waking up at 6 AM, then push bedtime and rising back an hour. If you become distracted while reading or writing in the morning, move those tasks to after lunch and do hands-on work as soon as you wake up. Once you find a routine that works for you, stick to it. You’ll be surprised how much more calm and in control you feel! 


  1. Neal, David T., et al. “Habits - A Repeat Performance.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, Duke University, 2006,