The Power Of Routines - How Your Daily Routine Holds You Back From Your Dreams

By Leo Gura - April 8, 2014 | 8 Comments

Why you’re not getting the massive results you want from personal development.

Big Ideas

You Are What You Repeatedly Do

  • “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
  • I love this quote because of how pivotal it is to advanced personal development work.
  • The more advanced I get, the more I’m amazed by the role routines play in my success.
  • You are only as good as you daily routine.
  • You have to be putting into practice, with consistency, the things you know you should be doing.
  • If you’re struggling with self-help, what you’re not understanding is that the quality of your daily routine determines you level of results in life.

The Choice of Comfort vs Growth

  • At the start of every day you are making a choice. You either choose to do what you know is right, or you choose to backslide into comfort.
  • As soon as your alarm rings, you’ve got a choice: “Do I wake up and get to work, or do I snooze a bit longer under the warmth of my sheets?”
  • It might seem like a relatively minor choice, but kid yourself, it’s these little choices that make up your whole life.
  • If you’re slacking on one choice, your are slacking on dozens of others, and they quickly add up.
  • Every choice is a step forward or a step backwards.
  • Be very concerned about how you break your routine.
  • Successful, powerful people have successful, powerful routines.
  • Can you remember the last time you set a list of 20 things to accomplish for the day, and you actually got them all done? How did you feel?
  • You felt awesome because for that day you lived up to your full potential.
  • Now think of a day where you set up a list of 20 things to accomplish but you didn’t complete a single one. How did you feel?
  • You felt horrible, right? Yeah, because you lived out your weakest self.
  • True happiness comes from being in integrity with your deepest values. And that means taking action on the things that are important to you.

Integrity Is A Need

  • Abraham Maslow identified this problem in the 1950’s with his concept of self-actualization.
  • As Maslow discovered, your highest ideals aren’t just flights of fancy. They are actual NEEDS, to be taken as seriously as your need for food, shelter, and sex.
  • If you neglect your values, if you live against them, you are guaranteed to suffer.
  • You’re also guaranteed to function at low levels of performance, far below what you’re capable of.
  • You don’t really have a choice. You have to do the things you know you’re capable of.

Advanced Personal Development Is Simple

  • For me personally, after studying tons and tons of personal development theory, the work now lies in integration.
  • If you’ve studied a lot of the theory like me and you’re still not seeing results, you need to focus on your routine.
  • The key realization is: advanced personal development is about creating a very strong routine.
  • A routine doesn’t have to be complex.
  • The best improvements to a routine are very simple things.
  • For example:
    • Did you wake up on time?
    • Did you eat a healthy breakfast?
    • Did you read today?
    • Did you avoid TV and internet?
    • Did you meditate?
    • Did you say your affirmations?
    • Did you put in a solid day of work?
    • Did you spend time with the kids?
    • Did you go to the gym?

My Ideal Daily Routine

  • Here’s what my ideal routine looks like right now:
    • Waking up on time (the earlier the better)
    • Listening to self-help audios while I shower
    • Taking my supplements and doing some detox
    • Eating a healthy breakfast
    • Reading my mission statement
    • 10 minutes of journaling
    • 30 minutes of visualizations and affirmations
    • 60 minutes of meditation
    • 60 minutes of gym
    • Working on my business for most of the day
    • 60 minutes of reading
    • 60 minutes of contemplation

Laziness and Fear

  • Because human beings are creatures of habit, the quality of our lives is simply the quality of our habits.
  • You either have good habits or shitty habits. So, how are yours?
  • What can you expect to accomplish in life if you run on shitty habits?
  • Without good habits you become a leaf in the wind, blown around by external circumstances.
  • It’s really hard to create a powerful life when you’re a leaf in the wind.
  • Moreover, you start to become afraid of the laziness that you built up.
  • Every time you stop taking right action you start to build up a reserve of laziness energy that makes you less and less capable to act.
  • Deep down you know that life is full of challenges, and that if you just sit around in comfort then problems will creep up on you.
  • Anxiety will build up inside you if you sit around for too long because you understand that you will eventually have to get back on track, and the longer you wait the more it will hurt.
  • When you’re comfortable, your greatest fear is that someone or some thing will come in and rip that comfort away from you.

The Downward Spiral of Laziness

  • Be very careful about taking a defensive attitude towards life.
  • A defensive attitude is when you go to extended lengths to preserve your current level of comfort.
  • When you’re begging and pleading with yourself to just stay at little bit more comfy, cozy, secure, peaceful, happy — watch out!
  • But even if you are able to extend that comfort for a while longer, it’s a bitter-sweet joy, because deep down you know something will rip it way from you.
  • When you go down this road, you start to feel weak, disempowered, and guilty. You also start to make stupid decisions.
  • Negative routines create a negative downward spiral that can be very dangerous and painful to escape.

Living On Your Edge

  • Positive routines, on the other hand, create a positive upward spiral.
  • When you’re following through on your goals you feel excited, on fire, and strong.
  • Eventually, if you execute on your positive routines for a long time, you start to become fearless. You literally feel like you can overcome any obstacle.
  • Success breeds success. When you see yourself succeeding in small ways every day, very consistently, you become more bold, more ambitious, more productive, and more creative.
  • When you’re used to consistently hard work, you welcome a good challenge. Opportunities open up.
  • An extraordinary life is a life that’s lived on the edge, not inside your comfort zone.
  • You might think that you want more comfort, but in fact what you want is to be riding a wave of successful action.

Breaking Out of The Negative Spiral

  • So what do you do if you’re already down in the negative spiral, in a pit of guilt and despair?
  • There is no magic pill. You will have to work your ass off to get back on track.
  • The longer you wait, the more painful it will be to turn the tide towards the light side.
  • If you’ve been going down the negative spiral for a long time, you need to be patient and consistent.
  • Start to work your way back up in baby-steps and give yourself time to feel the effects of your effort.
  • Do not expect to jump from the bottom to the top. It’s tempting but all it will do is create knee-jerk actions that will fail and make you even more depressed.
  • Don’t think that you can weasel your way out of the pain.
  • Create a plan of improvement that gradually ramps you up to high levels of performance.
  • Be patient and give yourself the weeks or months of time that it will realistically take.
  • This is where routines are very effective. Routines help to train you up so your body and mind can handle more stress.

Be More Patient

  • All of us struggle with creating positive routines.
  • Take the time right now to sit down and draft out a plan, on paper. Draft out a daily routine that will keep you on track towards your highest goals and values.
  • Don’t discount the small things. It’s the small things that matter!
  • If you look at successful people, they have very healthy routines that they’ve been consistently executing on for months and years.
  • Place extra emphasis on turning your routines into habits. Spend at least 30-60 days on it without falling off track even once.
  • So many of us waste tons of energy trying to establish just one routine because we lax up and fall off track before it is crystallized in the brain.
  • Routines are always difficult to set up on the front end. Their real dividends come on the back-end. Once a routine is established, it’s really easy to follow.
  • Just like rocket escaping Earth’s orbit, you need to be fully committed and give it a strong enough burst to break free of negative habits.

Be Serious About Creating More Structure

  • I’ve found that as kids and young adults, building routines comes more naturally because we’re part of a family and our lives have more structure.
  • But after high school, after college, after you leave the family nest, your life becomes more independent, less structured, and it’s easier get lost.
  • Once you’re independent, you have to devote conscious awareness to your routines. Don’t expect it to come naturally.
  • So sit down right now and cobble together a basic, skeleton structure for your life.
  • You don’t need to have everything in place at once. Start with the basics.
  • After you get the basics into place — perhaps in a few months — you can flesh out your plan with finer details.
  • You can’t really start do to personal development until you have a basic daily routine firmly engrained.
  • On the flip side, once you do, personal development becomes very exciting as you find new techniques and slowly integrate them into your life.
  • Complex self-help concepts are great, but this is where the rubber meets the road. If you want results, start with your routine.

Bottom Line: Advanced personal development is about living with integrity. Practically this means creating strong positive routines.

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Corrine says:

I do not drop a lot of responses, but i did some searching and wound up here The Power Of Routines – How Your Daily Routine
Holds You Back From Your Dreams. And I do have some questions for you if it’s allright.
Could it be just me or does it look as if like some of these comments come across like they are written by brain dead visitors?

And, if you are writing at other online sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post.

Would you make a list of the complete urls of all your social
sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Leo Gura says:

Well… this is the internet, so people tend to be extra kookoo.

There’s a list of my social media accounts up in the right sidebar of the site. Have a look!


Hi Leo,


I just viewed it only now and it really encouraged me to have positive daily routines. I would like to do journalling a habit, but then I don’t know what’s keeping me from doing it, maybe I think a lot before writing until my authentic, automatic or spontaneous feelings that should be poured out fades.

How important is journalling and how does it help in my personal development plan?

My heartfelt gratitude to your utmost generosity…sharing your ideas for free!

tshepo says:

You are a genius man. I always feel so down because I am constantly worried about what my family thinks of the things that I do and its now going to a point where I am now beggining to resent my family because they always have a comment about whats right for me and whats not good enough. I want to move out from home but m scared because my girlfriend will be blamed for me wanting to leave home. But for me its personal development as I want to grow and be independant.

Jonathan says:

I Heard u say tit lol thx for the vid

Yvonne says:

Hi Leo,
I liked the video. When I follow routines, everything flows so well. I just have to be disciplined to stick with them. Routines give me peace and more clarity to “see” new ideas for my business. Routines quiet a lot of “inner noise” because I don’t have to be thinking about the mundane daily tasks. This opens my mind to “the laws of attraction”. is awesome site for teaching yourself to follow routines


Lawrence says:

A sense of clarity came upon me whilst watching this video, thanks a lot Leo

Max Gron says:

I tried these positive, eliminating the negative, routines just as in above video Leo said and it’s literally changed my life, now I’m having coffee and breakfast every morning, it’s called looking after yourself. A perfect thing is a cupful of roasted coffee: made to perfection; but since this not-knowing video I’m supposed to leave the slate clean, I can’t change or reconfigure a single belief all because I don’t know any one of those other truths etc (and to not rearrange my anti-perfectionism to perfectionism). As ignorance is bliss it’s another habit/routine of mine of Leo-wise, doing the work, I’m positively worried about these things (to do for a week as Leo said) before eliminating my worry, perhaps I need next a model on something of a reality, I’m also something of a wonted guy.

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