Monday, October 31, 2016

Getting (Back) Into A Routine

This might come as a huge surprise but, routine is a big part of what makes my daily life function at peak efficiency. Shocker, I know... While I don't have every moment accounted for there are things I do at certain points in the day and on certain days of the week that help everything to flow without hiccups. For example, we all know about how critical mornings are but, I digress... That being said, when things get off track with my normal routine, however regimented it is or isn't,  there are immediate and sometimes inescapable ripples that taint the overall order of operations in my everyday life. Those effects can be difficult to overcome for a number of reasons both logistical and emotional; "How am I going to fit this back into my schedule?" "How did I left myself get out of this habit?" "I'm the worst..." I feel like you might know what I'm talking about. When that happens what are your tricks for getting back to your routine? Well, when I find myself in that situation, as I have before, the only thing there is to do is get back to it. Rudimentary? Yes. True? Also, yes! While it can be challenging, to say the least, to accomplish a return to previously established routines or habits successfully, the process can be easier if you approach it strategically.
  • Simplify - What exactly are you trying to achieve? While there might be books you want to read, blog posts you want to write, languages you want to learn, events you want to go to, gym classes you want to stomp, culinary masterpieces you want to add to your repertoire, etc. you have to be realistic about what you can commit to and hone in on the things that are of highest priority. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to do it all, add new goals gradually as you accomplish others. 
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  • Be Patient - Let's be real. It takes (on average) 30 days of doing the same thing repeatedly to form a habit. In order to stick with your routine you have to be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself that you are still in the process of learning/getting better at whatever you are working towards. Don't expect everything to happen overnight and if takes longer that you expect that's okay. 
  • Reward - Do you remember when you were younger and got rewarded for good behavior? Well it's time to treat yourself like a kid and give yourself a pat on the back; treat yourself to a fancy manicure, or whatever floats your boat when you stick with your routine. Frankly, if you are just churning away going to the gym, eating healthier, or doing your DuoLingo without reward it isn't going to stick. Reinforcing those good habits continuously will help you keep up with it.
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on
  • Keep It Going - Just because you managed to reach your first, second, or fifteenth milestone doesn't mean you should rest on your laurels and stop tracking what you are doing/rewarding yourself for that job well done. I know, from experience, that if you do you will fall off the proverbial bandwagon and be faced with a similar challenge when you try to get back into a routine again. 
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on
  • Stuff Happens - That being said, sometimes things happen that cannot be planned for and you have to bite the bullet getting back to your routine. Hiccups along the way are to be expected even if you can't always plan for them. See the second bullet above and be patient with yourself again and give yourself a pat on the back for the small successes. The only thing to do at that point is keep moving forward with your goals in mind. 

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