It doesn’t matter what type of routine you want to make, sticking to it is the hardest part.
However, you know that you genuinely want to change things when you’re ready to sacrifice the comfort of your current routine, for a new one.
If that’s the case congratulations, you’re already on the right track. Because it doesn’t matter what’s your goal; it matters how much you want it.
I find these 3 steps really useful and simple to apply:
Where to start? Build your routine.
- Clarity; set your goals. Get clear on what you want to accomplish with your routine, you need to be as specific as you can.
- Get healthier; in what aspects, diet, exercise, quit smoking?
- Education; what do you want to learn, how deep, just theory, how to apply it?
- Loose weight; how much, what size do you want to be?
- Put your self a deadline. You must put a date in your head, to give you that sense of purpose, push you to go on, and you’ll take responsibility for the outcome.
- Make a plan; break your goal into mini-goals and put deadlines to those ones too. That way, you’ll keep the excitement as you move forward, and you’ll have more control and conscious of your progress.
How to stick to a routine and make it work
There’s a chance you were too ambitious or too ambiguous when you first set your goal. So, once you have it, take some time to review and change it with a couple of things in mind:
(If you can make drastic changes and make them permanent, skip this step) Now, for the rest of us, normal human beings:
- Take baby steps, little but firm, they guarantee more than a huge jump!
Review your goal, and if you split it into three parts, try to break it into 9.
They don’t have to be proportional in time and effort, be creative but start with the smallest thing you can begin with
Imagine you need to change your diet; the first step could be to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up, and that’s it for your first week. Keep it simple enough at first, that’s how you make it stick.
- Mix your mini-goals with your current routine, and as you move forward, start replacing old habits with those mini-goals, until you completely change your routine. This way, your current activities will act as a reminder of the new ones.
You can start adding something to the first thing you do when you wake up, for example; the first thing I do is open my window, so my glass of water is next to it.
- Re-check your deadlines, you want to put some pressure on yourself, but you don’t want to sabotage the process with the frustration of failure.
Be realistic but not mediocre. If you can’t change your date, change the goal.
- Plan your day, before you go to bed, make sure you have everything you need for the next day. This is by far the most effective step, and for me, also the hardest one.
This is where you speak to your subconscious, telling him what you want to happen tomorrow. The good news is that he always listed, the bad news is that you don’t give it much attention.
But there’s a trick; it’s a mini-goal itself, so make it a part of your night routine; Put a note next to your toothbrush, or a notebook on your night table, and make it work.
For example; I have a gallon of water under the table, so my glass of water is always full.
Bonus tips to make it easier! Remember, when you are changing your life, sticking with a routine is probably the biggest battle you are going to have. It’s the proof of your true determination to accomplish a goal. So enjoy the ride.
- Put your plan somewhere you can see it. Is not just for you to look at it, interact with it; mark your completed goals, or just cross out each day, follow your progress.
- Think about your goals before you fall asleep, it’s better to meditate on them but just having them in mind as last thought of the day is good enough.
- Are you going on vacation? Take your routine with you! I don’t know about you, but when I come back from a trip is so hard to be productive again and get my routine back.
For example, I like to keep the smallest ones; my glass of water, my notebook and, half an hour to go for a run (sometimes I skip this one, but that’s ok)
- Be honest but don’t judge yourself, if you’ve ever practiced mindfulness you know what I mean. But if not, you need to understand that whenever you lose the focus or fail to achieve a goal you need to take note of it, be conscious of the fact and maybe try to understand why, but don’t punish your self because it’s self-defeating, you can ‘t change what it is but you can decide to learn from it.
And even if you don’t learn with the first mistake, a learning curve some times it takes four tries, just be responsible for each one of them, make them count.
- It’s gonna be a great day! Repeat this at loud every single day.
I know it sounds silly, I saw it on a TED talk and decided to give it a try, and I swear it works, it just puts me in a good mood even when I’m not in my best days.
- Last but not least; Don’t give up! Well, life will test you and flip your priorities; personal issues, obligations, work, family, vacations, you name it. Sometimes you just lose the will…
But don’t worry, those days will pass, the calm and comfort will begin to annoy, and there it will be again; your persistent goal, of having the life of your dreams.
What are you waiting for? You can make and stick to the routine you want!
Cute things to startup:
I’m loving this book, it’s helping me to put everything into place, and improving my routine a lot faster, if you like this post, this book is consistent with it but goes a lot further on it. It comes in audiobook too! (n_n)
Sunrise simulation Wake-up! this is a Light Alarm Clock that simulates natural dawn with optimum light and sound to help you wake up gradually and battle the morning blues. 10-60 minutes sunrise duration before pre-set wake-up time with personalized settings See it here
Save paper! This is an LCD board, great for writing to-do lists and other short memos that you would normally use sticky notes for. It’s easy to clean and maintain. And Sealed 3v watch battery provides over 50,000 erase cycles. Check it out here