Best Advice for Sticking to a Routine

Many of us try to get into a routine, whether it’s exercising and eating healthy, financial habits, or staying free of clutter. The hardest thing for most people is to stick to it long enough for it to become ingrained. Once you get into the habit of doing something, it’s much easier to keep going – it’s building that habit that’s difficult.

Most of us want to be healthier, workout more, eat whole foods instead of junk foods, be more positive, and so on, but if we’re not motivated to do it, it’s easy to procrastinate until tomorrow becomes a year, or even a decade.

This advice can help make it finally happen now.

Take Advantage of a Life Change

Many ingrained habits are associated with cues from your current schedule and environment. Recently, I had a family member for example, that was faced with a major life change. This life change was buying a new home among the Washington, DC houses for sale. A move can be scary, but it is also, a great time to establish a new routine because many things will be changing anyway. New habits will feel like less of a shock when they’re part of a bigger transition. This is something that has even been proven by science – researchers, led by Dartmouth College Dr. Todd F. Heatherton, found that more than 35 percent of successful changes were linked with moving to a new location.

Focus on What Motivates You

If you can keep your “eye on the prize,” focusing on what motivates you, you can use that for inspiration to keep going, helping to make your new routine an established habit. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier to eliminate or decrease symptoms of illness, think about how much better you’ll feel. By concentrating on how you’ll feel once you achieve your goals, it can help you stay on track.

Don’t Make it Difficult

If your new routine involves going to the gym four times a week, be sure you have your exercise clothing and other gear packed the day before. If you wait until the last minute and can’t find something you need, it can be easy to give up and forego it altogether. If you’ve been struggling to eat healthy at work, prepare meals ahead of time so they’ll be ready to grab and go. Or maybe your goal is to get into the habit of thoroughly cleaning the house every Saturday morning – be sure you have all the cleaning tools you need before Saturday rolls around. The easier you can make it on yourself, the better. 

Reward Yourself for Accomplishing Smaller Goals

It’s important to set smaller goals on the way to reaching bigger ones so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Define a more progressive set of goals, stepping stones that allow you to build up to your primary goals. You can make this work by giving yourself a reward that will keep you motivated every time you accomplish one. When you don’t, you might donate a preset amount of money to a charity, family member, or friend.

Get support

Share your intentions for a new routine with a friend, or perhaps on social media. If you only have yourself to account for, it’s a lot easier to skip it. If you know someone who wants to develop the same new routine, even better as you can motivate each other. Surrounding yourself with others who encourage better habits is one of the best ways to develop and stick to a new routine.