They construct a lifestyle that makes it easier for them to accomplish their goals. They relentlessly cut out the things that are not central to their aim. And they automate behaviors that would otherwise slow down their progress toward their goal.
The routine is secondary to the aim.
Building a routine or a new habit for the sake of having the habit is never going to stick.
There has to be something larger that you’re trying to accomplish. And then the routine has to serve that.
Habits are good. Routine is good.
They’re good because they automate the ongoing implementation of work you’ve already done.
They’re good because they remove unnecessary decisions from your plate, freeing you up for novel challenges.
If Your Routine Isn’t Working For You, Try This
Identify your aim. And then set your routines up to support that.
The ultimate purpose of your habits is to allow you to take on new challenges, so you can make things better in the world.
Intentional habit-setting is there to improve your life by lightening your load, not to lay a new burden on it.
New things require a lot of bandwidth. In order to take on those new challenges and make things better, we need to do something about everything else that’s going on. Routine is able to shoulder that responsibility.
But routine is useless if you don’t know why you’re doing it. If it’s not serving something, then it’s not serving anything.
P.S. The best resource on habit-building I know of is James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. You can buy it here
(not an affiliate link — I just like telling people about good stuff). Last I checked, there was a 50% discount on it.