Trying to build healthy habits is not always an easy process.
This is because habits are not something that you do consciously. Obviously, when you are trying to get to that point, you must be focused on what you are doing, and do it often enough that it becomes just a thing that you do.
Routines are part of the “Habit loop,” which is a tool we can use to understand the process of habit formation. A Routine is defined as the usual series of things that you do at a particular time. A routine is also the practice of regularly doing things in a fixed order. Your routine defines your habits.
Habit vs Routine
Habits can form deliberately, or on their own when we make consistent, but otherwise mindless decisions. The difference between mindless and mindful habit formation can the difference between bad habits versus good ones.
Routines are one of the greatest tools we have to deliberately create good habits. Routines, unlike habits, are NOT automatic. They require you to be deliberate: locking the door before you leave, going on a run once a week, drinking water throughout the day, etc.
Routine vs Ritual
The difference between a routine and a ritual is the attitude behind the action. While routines can be actions that just need to be done—such as making your bed or taking a shower—rituals are viewed as more meaningful practices which have a real sense of purpose. This is the fun stuff. Your rituals can also be routines, and that is best-case-scenario.
We already know that habits are formed by routines. Daily yoga can be a routine for your health, mindful breathing can make it a ritual. Doing it repeatedly without consideration makes it a habit.
Applying mindfulness to daily routines is a great way to create rituals for yourself and thus, positive habits.