My 5 indispensable daily dad routines

I'm not a very routine person. But these small daily habits add up to big changes over time.

My 5 indispensable daily dad routines

My 5 indispensable daily dad routines 1024 768 Looking out Loud

This is a Daily Moment—short perspectives on life and times through a dad’s eye.

Confession: I am not a very routine person. I ebb and flow. I get obsessed with things for days, weeks, or months—and then I’m on to the next thing.

But I do have a few simple habits that I stick to and care deeply about. Here are five things I do (almost) every day.

1. Walk my kids to school

This is priceless family time. And it gets me outside and moving early.

It’s about 15-minute walk. But it adds up to nearly 50 hours a year of quality time spent with my kids—laughing, looking, wondering, questioning.

2. Meditation

This is possibly the most important thing I do. I started nearly 20 years ago, and my commitment to it increases with time. It helps bring focus, peace, and clarity to my day. And this trickles into the time I spend with others.

My default is 20 minutes of sitting, while also trying to increasingly integrate moments of mindfulness throughout the day.

3. Push-ups

Push-ups work a lot of the body at once, and all you need is a floor. And I really notice the difference in the mirror and in the gym.

I aim to do 41 push-ups a day, one for each year I’ve been alive. Some days I do 100, some days just 5. But it’s the consistency that matters.

4. Keep a journal

I use James Clear’s Habit Journal, because it makes it to easy to track my life in 3 ways I find interesting:

  • One line per day – This is a single line that catches the main activities of the day. It makes it easy to answer the question: “Where does my time go?
  • Habit tracker – These are predefined values and goals that I check off or track time for. Things like sleep, exercise, meditation, overall happiness, time spent working, and a daily expression of gratitude.
  • Open journaling – This is where I expand on thoughts, feelings, aims, and experiences. It also serves as a sketch pad and mini-scrapbook. I don’t do this daily, but the persistent or bigger themes get their occasional space.

5. Kiss my kids goodnight, a second time

After story time, I tuck my kids in and say goodnight. Then, because I’m an ill-disciplined night owl, I tend to be up a few more hours.

And every night, before I finally throw in the towel, I go back into my kids room and kiss them goodnight again. They won’t be in those beds forever. So while they’re there, I appreciate every night I’ve got.

Now, I mentioned I do these things almost every day. There are days I slip, because I genuinely forget or I really can’t be bothered. But it’s extremely rare that I miss two days in a row.

Altogether, that’s less than an hour a day of commitment. But small daily habits add up to big changes over time.

What habits are you committed to?

Want ocassional reminders? Get a monthly-ish roundup of reflections and lessons on life and little people straight to your inbox:

    Enjoy this? Share it with someone else who will too:

    ← Back up for a Moment