How To Stick To A Routine
A lot of experts and self-help books say that a routine is one of the important keys to a person’s success. We couldn’t agree more. Most people want to stick to a good and healthy routine. After all, a routine is what helps us feel productive, focused, and at peace. However, so many people struggle to stick to a routine once they start. Again and again they restart, but never make any forward progress with their new habits. Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone!
But – why does this happen? Nine times out of ten, it’s because of poor planning and too lofty of goals! In light of this, we’re dedicating our post today to creating a routine and system that WORKS. We’ll break down the possible problems with your current process and show you how to really set a routine and stick to it:
How To Stick To A Routine
Benefits Of Having A Routine
First of all, what is even the point of having a routine? Well, not only have plenty of people said that structure in their life benefits their mental and physical health, but studies have actually PROVEN the importance of a regular routine. In this episode, the hosts of What We Said do a great job of explaining just how important a daily routine is, however, we’ve also listed a lot of the research-backed health benefits for you below:
+ Reduces stress levels
+ Improves sleep
+ Encourages you to eat healthy
+ Encourages more physical activity
+ Betters overall immune health
+ Improves mood
+ Increase productivity
How To Establish A Daily Routine
Decide what tasks are important to you.
The first step to establishing a good daily, nightly, or morning routine is to determine what tasks are most important to you. Consider both good habits you want to start and bad habits you want to stop. We forget about that second option a lot, but if you want to stop being on your phone in the evenings or stop buying coffee every day, that should be included in your routine as well!
Make a list of all the daily habits you want to include. You could even think about your overall goal! Do you want your routine to help specifically with mental health? Or, do you want your routine to optimize productivity? Decide this to help you narrow your focus and choose the best tasks for your routine.
If you need inspiration, Life with Marianna talks about her personal daily habits HERE. And, the hosts at That’s So Retrograde and With Whit discuss the details of their own routines in the episodes titled, “Our Morning Routines” and “A Look Inside My Daily Routines & Physical Health.”
Don’t forget to include self-care.
We have a tendency to include draining tasks on our routine list. These to-dos aren’t necessarily bad, but they take real effort and can totally zap your energy. Things like doing the dishes every day, taking the dog on walks, cutting caffeine, waking up earlier, and cooking home cooked meals is all great for you! However, these daily routine tasks involve a lot of effort, discipline, and punishment.
Your routine should make you feel good. It should reduce stress levels, better your sleep schedule, improve your mental health, and all the other health benefits listed above. In order for that to be possible, your routine needs to be good for your mind, body, and soul.
Consider adding self-care into your daily routine. These are easy boxes to check off that make you feel good and require little to no effort! Include things you love to do, like taking a bubble bath, listening to a podcast, drinking some tea, or even taking a nap! These tasks will be easy to accomplish and motivate you to complete all your daily habits.
Remember it’s a routine, not a schedule.
Though doing things around the same time every day is a good idea, don’t make your routine too rigid. Setting exact times that you do each thing every day may work for some people, but if you’re struggling to stick to a routine, this could be one of the problems. Instead of demanding you stay on a set “schedule,” instead go for a routine.
What’s the difference? A routine is more of an order of events than a rigid outline of your day. So, maybe you get up at 6:00 am one day, but 8:00 am another day. With a morning routine, both those days start with a workout, then move to breakfast, your go-to skincare routine, and some light reading. One day the routine might be 30 minutes long, and another day it’s a couple hours. No matter what, though, the routine happens!
Giving yourself this type of fluidity can help increase your chances of success! Because when things are too strict, you’ll get discouraged, throw up your hands, and give up the first day things don’t go as planned. Maybe you’ll try again tomorrow, maybe you won’t. So, try making a loose routine instead of a strict schedule!
Prepare your space.
Another reason people don’t stick to their routines is because their space isn’t built for it! Your routine should be easy to accomplish every day and involve as few extra steps as possible. (Seriously, sometimes expecting yourself to take something out of a drawer and put it away after use is too much.)
So, prepare your space by getting it ready for each of your tasks. That might mean setting up a yoga space in the corner of the living room where your mat and oil diffuser are always set up and ready to go. It might mean having a little basket with all your bullet journaling supplies right at your dining room table where you like to do your reflections. Or, it might just be getting organized!
The What We Said podcast hosts discuss this relationship between a clean and prepared space and the success of your daily routine in the episode “HOW TO CLEAN UP YOUR LIFE.” Take a listen, look at your tasks, and make your home work for you.
Make each task fun.
Healthy habits shouldn’t be a punishment – they shouldn’t feel negative at all. Even if getting up at 6:00 am isn’t your favorite thing or going without caffeine feels like the end of the world right now, you can make tasks fun by having a rewarding twist to each task.
For example, if you’re done drinking caffeine, maybe replace your coffee with a delicious smoothie. If getting up early is your new thing, and you’re not a fan, create a morning oasis for yourself with candles, music, and maybe a new comfy chair. Or, if cleaning is somewhere on your tasks lists, listen to your favorite playlist or binge a podcast while doing it. Don’t let your routine become a drag, enjoy it!
Start small and keep your expectations fluid.
“Start small,” is one of the first tips on ILYSM’s episode titled “A 101 Guide on Becoming a Morning Person, Creating a Morning Routine & Using Journaling for Manifestation.” When you start with a simple routine that only includes 1-4 steps, you’re much more likely to succeed. (Listen to Siffat Haider’s 4-Step morning routine HERE.) You can start with one thing, and then add another thing once a week until you feel you’ve crafted your perfect morning routine.
Consider how big of a change your new habit is too. If you’re trying to go from getting up at 8:00 am to getting up at 5:00 am, that’s probably never going to happen in one jump. Instead, start your goal at 7:30 and slowly work backwards until you reach your desired time. You’ll have more opportunities to celebrate your accomplishments and no task is too big!
Lastly, loosen up your expectations. Finding how exactly your routine will fit into your daily life is tough. As you’re working it out, some days might turn out exactly as you plan and other days you may feel you rushed through every part of your to-do list.
Both are fine. Both are good as you’re working it out! Accept when things aren’t perfect, and listen to The Dream Bigger Podcast episode “How to Maximize Your Schedule, Time Batching, Balancing a Social Life with Work, and All My Productivity Hacks,” to learn how to make better use of your time.
Track your progress.
Making yourself a disciplined person isn’t easy, but tracking your progress is one of the best ways to create positive brain pathways that remind you that sticking to your goals is a good thing! Find a habit tracker app, planner, or dry-erase board to help you visualize your achievements.
The beauty is, once you unlock your discipline and understand what you find motivating, you unlock a whole new level of performance. You will become more productive and accomplish more with less support. You’ll know exactly what you’re capable of achieving on your own!
You can hear more about becoming a high performer with the hosts of the Him & Her podcast in their episode titled, “Farrah Brittany – On How She Navigates Reality TV & Real Estate – Morning Routines, Productivity, & High Performance.”
Give yourself rewards!
Another great way of establishing healthy routines and gaining self discipline is through rewards. Everyone is motivated differently, but if you can set your eyes on some sort of prize, suddenly sticking with your routine feels a whole lot easier . . . and a whole lot more fun.
If you have financial habits you want to keep, maybe your reward is a vacation. If you have food goals, perhaps your reward is dinner at your favorite restaurant. Or, if you have workout goals, maybe your gift to yourself when you’ve worked out consistently is to buy a new outfit to flaunt your healthy bod. The choice is yours! You can get more ideas in the episode of What We Said titled “Tips to Stay Motivated, Self Discipline, & the Importance of Routine.”
Find an accountability partner.
We all know creating a routine is one thing. It can be highly intentional, include lots of rewards, have lots of flexibility, and you can STILL struggle to stick to your new routine. One of the best things you can do to ensure you don’t give up, but carry on with your new daily habits is to get an accountability partner who gets you, gets your goals, and will push you like crazy.
Reevaluate your routine regularly.
Your routine may not be perfect. It probably won’t be the perfect fit for you right away. As your life changes and as you get to know yourself better, you’ll realize how to develop a routine that truly works for you.
Marianna Hewitt talks about resetting routines and getting back on track in this episode of Life with Marianna. So, when you think it’s time for a reset, try setting aside time to listen to this podcast episode and start fresh.
Creating a routine is one thing, but sticking to it can be tough!
A routine can literally change your life. It can make you more productive, more fulfilled, and it can even improve your mental health. It’s time for you to establish a routine, stick to it, and see the transformation in your life that you totally deserve. For more self-help tips, check out our Dear Media blog and our catalog of stellar podcasts that can help you be the best version of yourself!