It’s no secret that I love setting intentions, or that I love a good routine… so I guess it was only a matter of time before I combined the two. The Daily Dedication routine is something I have been working into my own life for over a year now, and I figured it might be helpful for some of you, so I shall share it here.
What is a Daily Dedication Routine?
The Daily Dedication is a 7 point routine that you can incorporate into your day in a way that suits you. You can carve out time to complete all 7 items at once, or you can split them up and do them throughout the day. This makes it an immensely flexible routine that can be wrapped around even the most complicated of schedules.
How having a Daily Dedication can help you
The Daily Dedication routine is a way of reconnecting with yourself each and every day. It is a still point to return to in order to remind yourself of your “why” – your reason for making the choices you have made. It is also a place for exploring what your next step may be on the path you currently find yourself walking.
How long does it take to complete?
It’s entirely up to you! I picked the items on this list for their ability to be performed quickly.
Things like drinking a glass of water when I get up really takes no time at all, it’s just about creating the habit of actually doing it…
Some of the items on the list, like meditation, or recording gratitudes, you might traditionally spend longer periods of time on. However, I feel that even if I just spend a minute or 2 on each of these throughout the course of the day, my general mood and sense of achievement improves. Tiny habits for the win!
Think of it as a bare minimum self-care survival kit. If you only do these 7 things, and only do them briefly, you’ll still feel like you achieved something. If you have the time and inclination to expand on them then that’s even better.
Many of these points can be a slow dive into self-care if you have the time to indulge. For example, I like to tap into something creative every day – but on days when time is scant, that might just mean listening to a song I love. On slower days, I might spend a whole day painting or crafting.
A typical week might look like, Mon – Fri, working through the items one at a time, throughout the day, during coffee breaks, etc, and then at the weekend I might make it more of an event, setting aside time to dedicate to going through all of the items more mindfully and taking my time over them.
Would it suit an Evening or Morning Routine?
It absolutely would!
When I first created this it was kind of both… I had a morning routine, but some of the things I like to incorporate into my day, for example, listing things I am grateful for, I like to do at the end of the day.
I would check off all the items I had managed to do in a simple Daily Trello board and if I hadn’t managed to complete them during the day, I would do them then.
This is the reason that exercise isn’t on the list… it was part of my morning routine – but I don’t like to exercise right before bed, and so if I didn’t manage to do any exercise that day, I didn’t want to make myself feel crappy for not having accomplished it. If I did exercise that day, I could add it as a note of a win for the day. Everything else is a small achievement easily slotted into a bedtime window.
One of the things I loved about using Trello is the ability to add an image to each day.
Every day, after checking off the 7 items, I would add an image, either to reflect the ‘celebrations’ part – a photo of something joyful that happened that day, or maybe the visualisation section, adding a cool image I’d seen online, overall it begins to form a kind of awesome vision board that interspersed my life with the one I desired (which is excellent juice for the brain!)
(I have since made a blank template of that board if you are Trello inclined… sign up below for the free link! If you aren’t a Trello user, it’s free, easy to use and well worth checking out! Click here if you are interested! I use it for eeeeehverything…)
How to build your own Daily Dedication Routine
Either use my free Trello template, or build something of your own, a spreadsheet, checklist in a to-do app on your phone, or bullet journal habit tracker spread would all work fine!
I have items in this order as that is the order I would typically work through this routine throughout the course of the day. Starting each morning with a large glass of water to kick start my sleepy ass.
Dedication, meditation, affirmation and visualisation are typically things I prefer to do early in the day (and sometimes all at once!).
Creation for me might be getting some work done, either, writing or doodling, or it might be a hobby, such as painting, journalling, or strumming a tune or two on my uke while having a break for coffee, it might be doing something artsy with the kids. The key is it must light me up in some way. It must make me feel connected and light.
Celebration is almost always something I check off at the end of the day, making a note of 3 things that went well, or made me happy, or otherwise felt celebratory.
Related reading: Affirmations – A Beginner’s Guide
Let’s look at these items in a little more detail:
Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, drink water throughout the day, drink one before bed… The idea here isn’t necessarily that you log all the water you consume, it’s really there to serve as a reminder. This is an exercise in building small habits. If every day you remind yourself to drink water as the first thing you do, that is one small task achieved and it is easier to build on that. It’s first on the list because it’s the first thing I do, see? 🙂
Ok, there is a little set up here:
Set an intention. Write a small paragraph, intention, prayer… whatever you would prefer to call it that sums up what you want or a sentiment that matters to you.
Similar to an affirmation (more on those later…), but with more of an emphasis on why you want the things you want, or what your reason for being is currently. Put as much emotion into it as you can muster. This is like your big power mantra, so make it your own!
This exercise might take a little thought, but only needs to be done once, and is not part of the everyday routine. (Of course, you may wish to revisit this from time to time to ensure it is still serving you best.)
- “I am creating a life which fulfills me as a person because the world needs me at my best and I deserve to be happy”
- “I awaken today with a strong will, loving heart and clear perspective. My life is my own and I am surrounded by possibilities. I am becoming the best version of myself because I want to be of service to those I love, and I can’t help others if I don’t help myself.”
- “I connect with my sense of self, to all opportunities for growth, and I seek joy in my daily routines. I want to reconnect with what matters most and trust in the process of my life”
- “I feel light, free, vital, earthed and inspired as I walk my path”
If you have the time to incorporate a longer meditation into your day then try to do so. Studies have shown that meditating for 20 mins a day for even just 5 days, can significantly reduce anxiety and stress levels in the body. [source]
If however, you get to the end of the day and haven’t found the time to meditate, or you simply forgot, taking a minute or 2 to centre and check-in with yourself can be hugely beneficial. Sit quietly, close your eyes and be still. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Breathe deeply.
An affirmation opens the door.
It’s a beginning point on the
path to change.
~ Louise L. Hay
Regularly repeating what it is you are working towards impresses itself onto the subconscious mind to the point where it becomes real and believable to you: Once you have convinced your inner critic, the hardest part of the battle is won! Create some affirmations which speak to your highest self, covering various aspects of your life, phrasing them in the present tense:
- “I am successful in my chosen profession”
- “I have an abundance of money and more finds me every day”
- “I am a loving partner/parent/friend”
- “I am fit, healthy and strong”
Write your affirmations down and read them daily.
For more information on how affirmations work, help writing them or further examples, please see Affirmations – A Beginner’s Guide.
Visualise what you want. See yourself in the place that makes you happiest. If you aren’t predisposed to visualisation, then just try to focus on how it would feel to be there, really try and connect to your emotional centre.
You want to live in a cabin in the woods? Imagine the sound of birdsong in the morning, the smell of the trees, the rustle of the leaves, the way the dappled light falls through the window onto the table where you sit. See, smell, hear it all…How does it make you feel?
Whatever you would like life to look like in a perfect world, try and connect to that daily. Much like with affirmation, this teaches your subconscious mind to recognise these goals as achievable, which, in turn, they then become.
Plus it’s just super nice to think about. 🙂
In what ways have you been creative today? Did you make something? Bake a cake? Do a little dance? Had an interesting thought or idea?
Write down something creative you did each day, and if you find at the end of the day that was nothing, then write down a line or two in a journal. Anything that taps into that creative core we all have inside us. And we all do… Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, I firmly believe we all have that.
Creativity doesn’t always express itself through paints and poetry…anything that makes you feel connected, lost in the flow of your day and immersed in your experience. It could be a conversation with a friend, tinkering with your car engine, reading a book, playing a computer game even…
Record 3 things – these can be gratitudes, wins, things that went well, things that smelt fantastic, that made you feel alive…just any 3 things you can think of to celebrate. Doing this every day, even on the bad days (ESPECIALLY on the bad days!) helps you see how much good there already is, how much you have to be grateful for, what there is to look forward to – there is always something, however small.
These 7 things, even if only done for a few moments each are an integral part of my everyday. They are the things I consider to be the bare minimum of my self-care survival kit.
There are other things I consider to be important to my well-being – I love yoga, running and workouts, I love reading and watching inspiring documentaries, but these things can take time. If I have the time, then, of course, I do as many of these things as I can, and also extend all of the Daily Dedication practices (creativity alone can steal HOURS!) but if I just manage to do these 7 things for a few moments each and every day, things just go better. They just do.
I hope you find them useful, or else can see how you might use this a jumping point for your own version, incorporating whatever you consider to be imperative for you. Let me know what you would include in your own self-care survival kit if different from this! I’d love to know!
Don’t forget, sign up to get access to the Daily Dedication Trello template, it’s fully customisable, so if your own routine would look a little different to mine, you can adjust it!