14 Steps to Actually Stick to Your Routine
Why You’re Quitting and Not Doing
Let me know if this happens to you, too. I am all psyched to start this new program to transform myself into my best “me”.
Starting off, I have the best intentions and make sure I have the tools to set myself up for success. During the first week, I do great, okay on the second week, and the struggle is REAL by week three.
Pretty soon I’m saying, “what new program?”
This happens with exercise, meal planning, budgeting, studying, cleaning. Everything! Every day we try to make ourselves better and live life at 110% but find roadblocks in our way.
And if you’re amazing and need zero help sticking to a plan, routine, or goal you set out to do – first off, bravo – but secondly, you’re a massive minority.
For most of us, this is a huge problem!
Just look at when New Year’s Resolution time comes around, only 8% of us that set goals will stick to what we promised ourselves to do.
That means that 92% of us quit!
Why do we give up so easily? Why do 92% of us quit?
Our brains are wired to create habits, both good and bad. The habit of the fear of trying, self-doubt, and the endless garbage we tell our selves – and ACTUALLY listen to – can easily fill that part of our brain for us. We have to literally rewire our brains by recognizing and breaking these cycles and creating confident, positive habits!
And that my friend is how we start to live our lives at 110%.
Here are the 14 steps I’ve implemented that have helped me hold a consistent exercise, cleaning, AND meal plan routine for weeks now! Plus a complimentary printable because I want to see you succeed in your promises too.
I encourage you to print them out and face them every day. Let them remind you of the commitment you made to yourself for a better you!
01| Consistent Day and Time
Take time to look at your schedule and set yourself up for success.
Take exercise for example, if Wednesdays are normally insanely busy, probably best not to try for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday workout schedule. Are you a night owl? Then, an early morning exercise session might be less tempting than that snooze button, and an after work time could be better.
Whatever you choose, be consistent. Let your family, friends, and calendar know that this commitment is a part of your weekly routine now.
02| Keep It Realistic
If you’re super motivated, you might jump right in twice a day, seven days a week, for three-hour sessions. I highly suggest you hold off on that.
Burn out can come just as quickly as that motivation. And, burn out can motivate your butt right out of your commitment! Keep your new routine realistic for you and your schedule.
03| Anchor It to A Daily Activity
Another way to be consistent is to anchor your routine to a daily activity, such as brushing your teeth. I’m sure you’ve heard of mental conditioning, and you my friend are not immune. The more you associate your new activity with your daily activity the more it will just meld into part of your normal routine.
For example, if planning each day is a goal of yours bring your planner into the bathroom to fill out while you get ready. That way if you forget your planner, you’ll feel like you’re missing something in your daily routine.
04| Write Your Schedule On Your Calendar
Visualize your routine on your calendar system, and write it in ink – none of this pencil junk! Plan for it, and let your schedule help hold you accountable. It’s okay if you need to switch days around as long as you promise to do step 5 as well. I keep my Day Designer Planner with me all the time and this is why!
05| Protect Time Set Aside
Remember that this is a commitment you made to yourself. Don’t be that flaky friend to yourself, always changing plans last minute because “something else came up.” Something else always comes up.
But, honestly, who counts on those guys? Wouldn’t you like to count on yourself?
So, once you block out time on your calendar… protect it! If you have to change it, swap it for another day that week. Don’t just eliminate it, or that habit you’re working so hard to create will be a habit of “something else came up.”
Pro Tip: For other time management tips, check out my tips on how to achieve a work-life balance!
06| Don’t Get Discouraged Over A Single Miss
On the other side of not being strict enough with your schedule, is being overly strict on yourself. Please, don’t expect perfection while you’re starting a new routine. A perfectionist likely has a fixed mindset: unwilling to embrace failure, change, or grow.
None of these characteristics should describe you.
Instead, if a miss happens promise yourself that you’ll make it up the next day, or with extra work that evening. Do what makes sense in your life and what feels good to you!
07| Align Your Environment for Success
I can’t stress how important this step is! When I was a weight-loss coach, I walked through this with my dieters: an environment that doesn’t align with your goals can easily break your success.
What does that look like for your routine?
It could be your bike isn’t easily accessible. Maybe your husband’s TV noise is a distraction from reading. Maybe even being at home just reminds you of all the laundry, dishes, and meal prepping that could be happening.
Anything that distracts from your designated time. Find a way to change your environment or chose a new one.
08| Tell Someone With A Positive Influence
We all have friends good at building up and, unfortunately, tearing down. While we don’t need to stop being friends with those negative thinkers, I wouldn’t count on them to be a motivating factor to stick with your new routine.
Instead, try telling your positive friends about your commitment. They’ll be genuinely interested in your progress, want to see you succeed, and can be the motivation you need to hear when your progress hits a wall.
09| Keep an Accountability Journal
Be honest with yourself. It’s easy to lie to ourselves and start believing it. Our minds like to trick us into accepting the false data we give it. One example is time, and what feels like one missed day can actually be an entire week.
Keeping an accountability journal will prevent this miss-memories from sabotaging your routine.
I also recommend reviewing your journal as a daily recap of how you did, what you want to change, and how you can keep constantly improving.
10| Find Your Determination
Why do you want to make this change? What do you seek to gain from this consistent routine? How will this change your life?
Why will you be determined to make your goal a reality?
As much as we want to make things easy, no one will be holding our hand through life. We can seek advice or motivation, but ultimately we have to be determined to bring about lasting change.
People who find their determination will be more successful when met with any challenge along the way!
11| Create an End Goal
Think through what success looks like to you. When will you feel as though you have accomplished a consistent routine? What does that look like?
Your answer is when you know it’s time to congratulate yourself and get started on your next goal!
When we have our goal in site and can clearly picture what it looks like, the path to getting there becomes clearer. Think about it, if your driving and don’t know your destination how will you know to turn right or left. How much fuel will you waste not really going anywhere?
Find your end goal!
12| And “Bite-sized” Goals Too
Milestones are important to recognize too. Lots and lots of milestones!
Be sure to include mini goals in your routine too. These can help you know you’re on the right track to reaching your end goal. An exercise example could be running a certain distance, hitting every session for a month, or dropping to a certain pant size.
Outline all your goals – mini and end – and post them so you can always visualize your goals each and every day.
13| Develop Incentives to Celebrate
We humans like to be celebrated, and that includes celebrating our own successes!
Assign rewards for both mini goals and your end goal. Mini goals can include things like a new pair of pants, signing up for a fun 5K run, or a new pen set for your planner.
As far as your end goal reward goes, think of something you really would like to celebrate with!
14| Stop Being Intimidated
Finally, stop being intimidated by others on social media, in the gym, around work.
Each of us has talents and successes others don’t. And while you might meet them along your journey, they aren’t the ones traveling the path you’re on.
If you are motivated seeing others achieve a great routine, strive to LEARN from them. Reach out to them, asking what they learned when they were where you are.