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3 Routines to Consider Right Now (with Options!) || with Ashley Brown

identity podcast routine Jan 23, 2022

How to create practical routines and overcome common routine hurdles.



There’s so much advice out there on how to build the “perfect” routine, not to mention so many good routines to consider. Many women find themselves paralyzed, not even knowing where to start. 


Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you try to create routines, too?


In this week’s  episode, I invited my friend and routine expert, Ashley Brown, to discuss how you can get started with some simple, yet solid routines. We tap down on your overwhelm and provide 3 routines for you to consider—with options!


Even though they’re “simple,” each of these routines has the potential to make a big difference for most people!  


We know the next “routine battle” awaits after you choose where to start. That’s why Ashley and I also discuss some of the main hurdles you’re likely to find in your way as you start these routines. 


Instead of feeling overwhelmed to start your routines, follow this expert’s practical advice and get some momentum going—starting today!



About a few other things...


Reclaim your creative power and rediscover who you actually are! If you’re ready to come back home to yourself, to be able to say that you know who you are and what matters to you, take my foundation course, “Finding Me.” It’s OK that you’ve lost parts of yourself along the way; but as you learn to anchor back into who you are and align your life to what matters to you, you’ll find that you have more strength, more fulfilment, and more creativity to bring to your important roles and responsibilities.


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Songs Credit: Pleasant Pictures Music Club




Monica: Ashley Brown, welcome to About Progress.


Ashley: Thank you, Monica. I'm still happy to be back. Thank you for having me.


Monica: You are the routine gal, you know everything about this and what I love so much about the way you do routines, it's not inside of that perfectionism, dooms day, all or nothing. And, I just think it's super unique out there, especially in the world of experts. Right? And so we're going to be talking about routines today in ways that are super practical, but the last time you were on the show, we did more of a mindset, deep dive.


And if people are kind of looking for that on how to make routines outside of that perfectionistic mindset, Go listen to our last episode. But before we dig into the practical side, I just wanted you to level with some of the women who are listening, who are feeling the pressure right now to do all the new routines, all right now, because it's the New Year.


Ashley: Oh, my gosh, don't we, I feel like that's something that I've had to work on. So if you're in that boat, just know that we've all been there. And all of this energy just rushes in when the new year comes, which is beautiful. I love it gives me all the energy. But then we think about what I have to get this routine together, this routine, all of the routines, all of the routines need to be together right now, in the next week I need to have them all down pat. And we know realistically, that's not how it works, but because we have so much energy, we want to make it happen.


So I'm always telling myself, and I'm going to tell you today, take a breath. Take a step back and know that every routine does not need to happen right now. You have an entire year, you have an entire lifetime. Let's be honest.


 When I think about routines, I think about the energy that I have now. It's a new year and I'm like, oh, I have all of this energy. And I have all of these goals and I want to create these routines. I think about, well, I can do one of two things. I can use all of this energy and disperse it amongst, a lot of things, or I can use my energy that I have now and focus on one thing.


And I feel like focusing that energy on one thing is going to bring about better results from me. And so if you think about it that way, then maybe it'll hinder you from wanting to start all of the routines, focus on one at a time, and that's going to give you a lot more success with what you said.


Monica: I'm so glad you said that I was, I was talking to Brad last night about the new year, you know, and, and, and goals and all that. And I have a huge goal planner and it usually takes me a month to do all the prep work to decide my goals. But I was telling him, I think the only, the only routine I want to work on is just my nighttime routine. And it's nice to hear that from, from you as an expert, like, just start with one, you have a long list and any tips on how they can choose what that one routine would look like, like which one to choose.


Ashley: Yes. I feel like before you even get there, you have to think about what's going well. I really feel like just starting with what is actually going well, because many times we want to skip over that. And if you call out what's going well, you may go into a routine it created, and then you find out, oh shoot, this was actually okay. Now you have to go back to the drawing board. And so really think about what you're doing well, and right now in your life. And then you can think about what maybe you need to tweak or improve a little bit, and it doesn't have to be anything drastic.


 I have a routine assessment on my site if you want it. Check that out. It's just go to the website, scroll down a little bit. It's there and it'll help you decide which routine, it's best for you to start right now in your life.


Monica: Ooh. I didn't even know you had that.


So a free assessment go there and that will help you narrow it down. But I love that you're starting, you know, think about what's going well and then consider what do I need room for? So that, and for me, another thing that helps too it to just think about what is the one thing I could do now that could help everything else. So now let's actually dig into giving them some suggestions on three big routines you might encourage them to consider. And then with each of those routines, we're also going to have you share some examples of different versions that they can do underneath the routine.


So let's start by hearing just the three routines and then we'll dig in more specifically.


Ashley: Yeah. The three routines that I feel like you can consider, you don't have to, but you can consider them. One is an exercise routine, right? Moving that body also helps with your mind as well. Laundry routine. This one may be shocking to you because of the fact, I really feel like cleaning routines helped with your mindset. Yeah, so laundry routine. And then a bedtime routine. So I got you here, Monica. Yeah.


Monica: Well, you've got me on two of those because laundry is literally my worst, worst chore, so let's okay. So I love it. Those are the three let's start with exercise. What could that look like? Different


Ashley: versions. Yeah. So exercise routine, this could look, however you want it to look. That's the thing that I love that I teach about routines is that you make them your own, you make the rules for your routine. So I'm going to share a few with you and you'll see that some are a little bit more broad or flexible than maybe others. And so the first routine, let's say the first exercise routine, you could stretch, exercise, and then do a cool down. That's like a really straightforward feel like that's what most of us do in our routines if we have an exercise routine, but that can be just, it doesn't need to be anything fancy. So that's the first one.


The second routine that I have for you exercise routine could be. Go for a walk and then wind down. That could be the second one. And this one and like wind down can be however you want. Maybe you go for your walk and then you come back and you have a cup of coffee. Maybe you go for a walk, you come back and you read a book. Like that wind down is really broad, so you can make it however you're feeling in that day.


And then another routine this is the last room to share with you, could just be move your body. And wind down, I'm telling it can be like move your body. And I love move your body because it doesn't restrict you to doing a certain exercise, like move your body could be whatever. That could meansdo yoga or go for a walk or stretch or just walk or walk up and down your stairs a little bit. You know, if you have steps in your house, it can be whatever that feels like for you in that day.


But that's a really just simple one. And just as I share that with you, I want for you to realize that a routine doesn't have to be a lot of steps. As I was sharing these with you, some were two step routines. Another one was a three-step routine. So just know it's, whatever you feel like you want to make it. Maybe you want to drink water and then exercise and then have a smoothie. It can, I mean, the exercise routine can be whatever you feel like you want it to be, but that's that's for exercise.


Monica: Yeah, it's kind of like what's what do you want in your sandwich? You know? And that's what I think about routines too. It's like, what are you going to put in that sandwich? And so you get to decide, but having some kind of stack and, and we're going to talk about lowering the hurdles in a little bit too, cause I can think of a lot with just exercise a lot, like what gets in the way of it. So if you're thinking about if people are listening to like, but, but hold on to your "but" and wait, we'll talk about some hurdles in a little bit. Okay. Thank you for that case. Let's go to the next big routine, the laundry. Oh, I'm going to say the happier though. Yes.


Ashley: Yes, you should. Okay. So this one I'm going to share. And this is actually on my radar to reading on my booklets for this year, because I have a goal of reading more books and watching TV.


I'm a huge TV lover. So I'm trying to read more books this year. But one book that I want to read is called Laundry Love. You should definitely check it out. People love that book and it helps you fall in love with laundry. So there's something but laundry routine. And the reason why I've really pointed this one out is because I feel like cleaning routines really do help you with your mindset, just in terms of like decluttering your mind, especially the laundry, because it's a consistent routine that we're doing over and over and many times it's the routine that is on the back of the.


In our heads at all times, it's like, oh, I have to do the laundry or I forgot. I need to fold the clothes. I need to make sure that to take them upstairs. It's like always on your mind. And so you can be consistent with doing your laundry. I just feel like it's one less thing on your mind. So yeah.


Monica: Yes, you just, yeah. You just listed every problem that I have with it.


Ashley: Okay. So let me share my laundry routine. So this is my three-part laundry routine is really a three-day laundry routine. So a three day you heard me write three day laundry routine. So on day one, I usually wash and dry the clothes. That's it wash and dry.


All of the clothes. I'm like a all in one girl, I'm not wanting to do laundry everyday, like a load everyday. I might let me do all of it in one day, wash and dry. Then day two, I fold the clothes. And then on day three, I'll put them away. And so that's my laundry routine. That's been working for me really well. And I remember I shared this routine. People were like, I never thought about doing laundry that way. You know, we always assume we have to do it all in one day. Like we have to wash and dry and fold and put them away all in one day. And it's like, you don't, you have to find what works for you, but that's the first routine.


And then another laundry routine that you could have is where you wash a certain load of laundry on certain days of the week. So I just wrote this down. It's like, maybe you're like, okay, I'm going to wash my clothes on Monday. Then I'm going to wash my children's clothes on Tuesday. Then I'm going to do the towels in the bedding on Wednesday. Because your husband can do his own laundry. Yes. Right. We're going to delegate some tests to see. So, but if you want to do your husband's laundry, then definitely put that on Thursday, but you know, just designating, what load are you going to wash on certain days? And that's a routine in itself. So you can think about it that way too.


Or maybe you're the type of person that you like to do things. And. So maybe you do one load of laundry a day. So like you just put a load in the wash in the morning and you make sure that you dry them, you fold them and you put them away. That day is just one load of laundry a day. And you stick to that. And maybe you do that like three to four times a week. It just depends on how much laundry you really have, how big your family is and all of that. But those are the routines that you can think about with laundry, but I'm telling you, if you can get laundry under your belt, I feel like it just makes it easier for you to keep your home tidy in general, because it's not that weight that's always on your brain.


Monica: Yeah. Love it. Speaking of delegation, I think one of the reasons, one of the things as helped our laundry is I'm, I've trained my three oldest kids. How old are they? Six to 10 to do their laundry. And now they fold them during a show. So that's what they're all doing right now while we record this. But I do have to say with my own and towels, like, yeah, that does need to be better. So I'm going to, I'm going to borrow one of these and try them out. So thanks for sharing that. So now let's go to the bedtime routine.


Ashley: Yeah, so bedtime routine. I love a good bedtime routine. My bedtime routine is my favorite routine of all of my routines. And I believe so because of the fact that when you can prepare at night, I feel like it just makes your mornings a lot smoother just in terms of how you fall asleep, really drives how your mornings flow. Like if you're not getting adequate rest, sleep at night, then it's going to go into your next day. And so if you can get a good bedtime routine established, I promise you when you start a morning routine is going to go down better.




Monica: I love that you started with the nighttime and we actually going to have a whole episode on this. You and I are, and we didn't even talk about that one ahead of time, but that's like that's on the calendar. So I'm really, I'm not going to tell, share different versions of them though. So let's, let's hear what you, what you would advise for them.


Ashley: Yeah. So bedtime routine. So one I'll share mine. So my bedtime routine is I will usually shower and then I journal. I pray because I'm a huge God, girl. And then I meditate. So that's mine. That is my bedtime routine that I've been doing for a while. Now. It's been at least over nine months, I've been doing that routine. And I don't do it every single night. So I want you to be very clear about that. I do it at least like four to five times a week, but it has really helped me to get better rest, better sleep. And so that's what I do. And so that's my bedtime routine.


Now another bedtime routine could be put your phone away, read a book, and then pray. Hmm. That could be it, right? Like, especially if you love reading, you know, a book that might help you even fall asleep a little bit, and then you say your quick prayer and then you're out for the night. Right. Or maybe another bedtime routine could be that you meditate and they use stretch your body and then lights out. And that could be your bedtime routine. Maybe you just want to shower and journal. That could be a quick bedtime routine.


Really think about for bedtime cause most of the time when we're doing this is to help us feel more relaxed, more calm before until I ease our minds before we actually fall asleep. So think about actions and things that you can do that will contribute to you having a clear mind. That can contribute to you, feeling more relaxed, more calm before you go to sleep. And that's going to be different from person to person.


But I definitely feel like something that really kind of deals with your body. Like maybe taking a shower like that warm shower, like a really hot bath, and then doing something that eases your mind, like getting things off of your head. You can even like brain dump it. That's what journaling does for me. Like I just brain dump. I dump it all out and then meditation does it for me too.


But think about what that is for you, what calms you.


Monica: So I'm thinking now about some of the hurdles that come up where people are trying to actually install a routine and, you know, we're both moms. So I think I say this with so much love, but one of our biggest hurdles are. You know, like interruptions, distractions, circumstances they're facing. Yesterday you had a snow day out of nowhere this week, my kids were all sick, you know? So that's one of the hurdles. I see. How do we lower the hurdle with routines like newer teens and potential interruptions that often come from kids specifically, but they can also apply to other interruptions in general.


Ashley: I feel like when it comes to children and this is what I do with my girls, I have two girls. They're two and four. And especially when it comes to like, I'm trying to exercise in the evening. And I know I want to exercise in the evening and they're up many times when I exercise, which is fine.


But what I'll do is I'm like, okay, so what can they do while I'm exercising to where they're not going to bother me that much? Now they they're still gonna bother me. It's just what it is. So I already know that in my brain, they're going to bother me. I'm okay with it because maybe I'm just doing yoga or something.


What can help your children either distract them while you're doing something or preoccupy them while you're doing something. Also communicate with your children. We think these kids don't understand when we say things to them, they are so smart. Even my two year old, I'm like mommy is about to exercise and especially my oldest she'll stop my two year old and say mommy's exercising and leave her alone.


And communicate with your kids can help as well. And just letting them know what you, what you're trying to do or what you need to do right now for yourself and tell them why you're doing it too, because it can really instill some things in them.


But don't give up. That's the one thing, because even though we get interrupted, we get distracted at times that's going to happen. I don't want you to getting discouraged because it happens because it's always another chance.


You can always give yourself permission to start again. You can always also give yourself permission that if you start your routine, like, for example, your exercise routine. In 15 minutes into it, your child ends up falling and bumping their head and now you have to go and be with them. It's okay. You got 15 minutes and that's great. The next day you can probably do more. So just know that it's okay for it not to be perfect. Like we're not perfect individuals, life happens, but if you can just jump back on the train the next day, then that consistency will build.


Monica: Yes. Okay. So I just wrote down what you said, so I'll give them like a four-part thing now with children, interruptions, get them busy ahead of time, have them do it alongside you. One of my friends did that with gardening. She kept being frustrated cause like she just wanted a garden, you know, but then she just included her kids in it. Great. Great idea. Communicate and re communicate and be flexible. Yes.


And that's part of, I really love that you kind of just showed just what we can teach our kids about boundaries and that, that even just being consistent about safe, when mommy's done, then I'll do that. Like even just eating your lunch, right? Like, or your dinner. I, that was something that I said to my three-year-old today. He wanted something. I was like, when I've been eating lunch, that I'll do that with you.


Ashley: Oh, my gosh, we have to teach our children boundaries. For sure. I just did the same thing today to the, you know, my daughter comes up to me and she's like, mommy, I want to snack. And I'm like, mommy's eating because you got your chance to eat. Now mommy's eating. I'll get you the snack after I'm done.


Monica: Good job, mama. Yeah. I mean it really, I think it will take a lot of times, like you said, so that's why the flexibility comes in handy. So let's talk about the second big obstacle which you just brought up is consistency, the hurdle of consistency. And I think underlying this big obstacle is another hurdle of it just being too much too soon. I love the routines you just shared with us because they were two or three parts. And each of those parts were simple. When I start imagining a new routine, I'm like thinking about a 30 step skincare routine and like a 20 minute meditation session. And then like another 30 minutes of journaling, like, whoa. That's a lot. So those two kind of work together, how can they go into a new routine to lower that hurdle of consistency and too much too soon? Because again, they go together.


Ashley: Exactly. I would say really start small. Start small, because you can build on tour routine. I shared with you three step and two step routines. You can start with a two-step routine and then you can start to build over time. But I would say definitely start small, like just putting one foot in front of the other, because if you start with this really grand routine that has multiple steps, you're not going to, it's not going to work like


Monica: It's not going to be consistent, right? You could do one day a week or one day. That's not consistent.


Ashley: Exactly, but that's really it. And you know, if you're really trying to make progress, depending on what you're doing, you probably want to be doing that more. And so really thinking about starting small, only give yourself as much as you can handle, really think about your life right now.


How much can your life truly handle in this season? And then just start really my, like with a mini routine, and then you can build on as you. See that, oh, I'm keeping up with this. I'm staying consistent with this. Now I can add on this other part that I want to add on, but I think that really does help with consistency.


And like I said before, another thing is just your mindset and knowing that you can't fail it a routine, like you always have a chance to start the routine again, or to try again, like there's no failing at a routine. Sometimes in life, we have to stop what we're doing and certain seasons are harder than others, but I always give myself permission to start again. And when I keep that in the back of my mind, it really helps me to keep pushing forward and to keep my routines consistent, even when I'm feeling down and out. So know that, you know, you're not going to fail. It's going to be fine. You don't have to be perfect with your routine. Like I said, if you can just do one or two steps of your routine that day that's better than nothing. That's at least some consistency.


Monica: Yeah. Check it, check it off. Like I did it when I am I going to apply what you just said? Like the exercise routines. For me, a way to, to, to make it so I can be consistent with different, like maybe a new exercise routine is to shorten the length of time you know, a five, 10 minute. That counts five or 10 minute yoga or whatever it is.


Ashley, I love talking to you so much. I love your podcast. I'm going to refer people to that. First are already podcast listeners. So go to Routine and Rhings. Subscribe, listen, Ashley's an incredible teacher. Her episodes are. Usually like you can digest them pretty quickly and then you can act on them quite easily.


But I want to spend some time talking about the new book. Oh, okay. So hold, hold that up for me. Cause I know you've got an advanced copy. Tell us.


Ashley: Yeah. So the Routine Building Handbook. Oh my gosh. Even when I hold it, I'm like, this is crazy. So my thought, I never thought would write a book. It wasn't even on my radar, but that's how God works. And so the Routine Building Handbook is really a practical guide. The book is really all about helping you practically and realistically build and maintain routines. And it walks you through step by step through the process.


So my entire framework that I have taught in that I continue to teach us in the book. It has four parts. Part one is about assessing your routines. Part two is creating routines and walks you through that process. Part three is all about maintaining your routines and how you do so, and then the fourth part is for mamas. So if you're a mom I have an entire section and part of the book dedicated to you because I know that better routines as a mom, when you're responsible for kids and others is different than when you're not. And so that's a part in there that that is really near and dear to my heart.


 I also have a lot of Q and a in the book, which is my favorite part to the Q and a, I have a lot of questions that I answer that I've gotten throughout the years of me having this business, as well as questions that maybe you haven't thought about that when you look at it, you're like, oh, that makes sense.


 It releases January 20. I'm so excited about it. Oh, another thing about the book that I absolutely love is women share their stories too. In here. I have helped multiple women build routines. And so. Five of them shared their unique routine building stories in this book. And I'm so happy that they were courageous enough to share their story and was willing to share their story. And so that's in there.


Of course, I share my story of routine building as a stay at home mom when I went through a really hard, hard time in my life. And so that's in the book as well, but routines are fantastic. They're powerful tools. And so I think that just having this book could be really great for you.


Monica: Yeah, it really is one of those chicken and the egg things. We talked a lot about identity and fulfillment in my community and, and the way you play it out or through your habits and routines, like that's how you play it out. And also vice versa. The way you're able to know who you are is when you are living that out. And giving yourself space for it.


So I am grateful to have you as a resource excited for this book. I've already, pre-ordered mine. I'll be doing a little giveaway with a copy that Ashley's kindly gift gifting our community. We'll do that on our stories, on my stories so they can go. I got mine off of Amazon, but you have other links I'm sure too. So we'll make sure we'll link to it in the show notes for them. And Ashley, I'm just really grateful. Thank you for being on the show again.


Ashley: Thank you so much, Monica.


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