Routines are how we achieve great things within the same 24 hours that everyone else has. By building consistent practices, your actions will become automatic and cumulative so that before you know it, you will be achieving everything you set your mind to. In The First Step to Creating Routines for Self-Growth: Part 1 I shared some of my best advice on building strong and resilient routines, and here are some more ideas.
Often, things will not fall perfectly into place on the first try. Building your routine will require experimenting: perhaps you tried fitting in the gym at night but then realized that it does not work well, so you move it to the morning. Then you may try different wake-up times to make it to the gym in the morning. Be patient, it takes time.
It’s okay to fail at the beginning – give yourself space to try different ways of getting into the desired habit. Keep iterating and finding how to make each new item on your schedule work for you.
Setting up your routine takes a lot of persistence. Often, you will find yourself hitting a wall and wanting to give up. You might think that things are just too hard – keep going. Establishing your routine will take time, but it will be much quicker than trying something out, like going to the gym, then giving up and trying again.
It’s a much better investment of your time to take time to put exercise into your schedule, patiently, slowly, but sustainably. Over time, you will reap the benefits of having exercise in your routine for a longer time if you make the time in the beginning.
Keep trying until your new habit works for you.
Blocks of Time
Divide your schedule into blocks of time that will make it easy for you to decide when you can and cannot do different activities. You could divide your time into different categories:
- You (meditation, journaling)
- Wellness (exercise, cooking)
Having clearly defined times will help you more easily make decisions about when to do activities within your schedule. It will also make everything more automatic. You won’t have to think about when you are doing something, as it will just happen as part of your routine. Your time will flow more smoothly.
You will get sick, you will travel, or you might have a new baby. All of this is normal, but your routines might suffer from sudden and even expected changes. The key in all of this is to first know that you will not achieve your routine 365 days of the year. It will simply not happen. Know, as you are building your routine, that it is meant to work well most of the time but not all the time. Build in scheduled time off. And when the change is temporary, give yourself grace. You have a right to get sick or to take time off. You will come back to your routine in no time.
If the change is permanent, then take the time to change your routine again. It might take some work and might even be jarring but remember that the time you invest now in creating a great routine will be the secret sauce to your success.
Best of luck!