You’ve read and heard everywhere about creating routines and the importance of having routines in your life. But how do you stick to a routine?
It all sounds nice and shiny, you see rainbows and flowers when you fantasize about the successes you can achieve by having a routine…
…but when it comes to reality, you are not able to commit to it.
No matter what routine you want to set up for yourself, this post is about the layer underneath: how to actually stick to your routine(s). So stick around (ohh, see what I did there?) to find out more.
It’s all about discipline
Well, isn’t that a cliche and no-brainer.
We all know it comes down to discipline.
Though many people say and think you need to have motivation. But I heard this fantastic quote in a podcast once: “You don’t have motivation, you DO motivation” (I believe Jim Kwik said it).
This essentially says that you have to have the self-discipline to motivate yourself – even when you don’t feel like it.
How badly do you want it?
This is basically about your why. Why do you want to hang on to this routine? What do you get out of it? Is it improved productivity, time to work on a side hustle, or some me-time.
And why is that important to you?
Or perhaps you want to prove yourself that you could succeed at sticking to something.
Whenever you feel like not committing, think of your why and why you started in the first place.
You want your routine to become like a habit. It takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. It will most likely take longer. Scientific studies reveal it takes anywhere between two months and eight months and on average 66 days to form a habit.
I don’t want you to get disheartened with these numbers! I think that 21 days is an achievable first goal to work towards.
I’m a big fan of visualizing, so:
- Draw 21 check boxes on a paper or whiteboard
- Tick off a box each day you completed your routine
Ticking off boxes instead of adding a new one daily, works more motivating.
After your first 21 days, start a new streak of 21 days.
Just know that it takes time to build a habit of sticking to your routine, and for some, it might take longer than others.
Have an exciting routine and start simple
A very easy way to stick to your routine is to create a routine that excites you to work on it. Don’t follow a routine your favorite celebrity or a successful CEO has if it doesn’t fit your goals and interests.
Think about what you want to accomplish and what you need to do for that.
This also brings me to my next point: start simple.
You might have gotten tons of inspiration for activities to put in your routine. But you will most likely fail if you want to do everything and all at once.
Set up a simple routine that you think is achievable for you to start with – don’t overwhelm yourself. Your routine is not set in stone, so you can add/remove/tweak it as you see fit.
Write out or visualize your routine
Write down or visually map out your routine, so you can easily fall back to it when you’re not in the mood for your routine.
Hang it somewhere clearly. That way you see with a simple glance what you want to do. There’s no need to think, just follow the steps you’ve set for yourself earlier.
Falling off track
It’s okay to fall off track every once in a while – life happens. If it doesn’t happen too often, it won’t impact your long-term achievements.
Don’t let it happen twice in a row though – that’s a recipe for never getting back on track.
You need to have the discipline to put yourself back on track! Don’t make excuses for ‘losing your flow’. You already started once, you can start again.
Let’s get started sticking to routines
There you have it, a few practical ways on how to actually stick to your routine. For me personally, it helped to start simple and write out my morning routine.
It took quite a lot of discipline in the beginning to wake up early, but it’s gotten much easier and sometimes before I fall asleep, I’m actually excited for the next morning!
I’d like to know if these tips helped you in any way and how; let me know in the comments!