How to get going or start a new routine without becoming overwhelmed or unmotivated !
Can you ever think of a time where you said "I am going to start doing this X". or "On Monday, I am getting back into the gym before work everyday, for real this time". Then Monday comes around and you do it (yay!) but by Thursday, you lost the motivation to go and you fall off the wagon.
In this post, I share 5 ways to actually get the thing done. Like for real. Once and for all. Let's dive into how we can do that together.
We all need to start somewhere. I want you to think of your current goal or current promise to yourself.
Now, think smaller. Most likely your goal (especially if its one that you have tried to start in the past but can't get it to stick) needs to be broken down a bit - at least at first, just to get the ball rolling.
An example would be, if your goal is to get back into running, but you haven't even been to the gym in a year, it would be very hard to wake up, get on the treadmill and just go. We need a smaller goal to get the body in motion, like going for a 10 minute daily walk on week one to get back into it.
We need another goal, almost like a middle man goal, something to be a catalyst to get you from point A to point Z. You can't go form zero to a hundred, that's what most people do and then find themselves stuck in a puddle of discouragement, self-doubt, and frustration when they can't keep the habit going or even get there in the first place! The human brain and body is not built that way. There are so many studies and books written on habits for this reason.
Your ego will fight back. Your brain will think it's dumb "Drive all the way to the gym just to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes?". Especially if you're getting back into an old habit and think "I used to be able to run 2 miles a day and now I'm here for 20 minutes walking?." You have to fight that voice and use your first week to guide your body and your brain back into this routine.
If your ego says "I can easily do more than that" when it sees how small you are starting. Your ego will want to tackle these big changes at once, but it's more reasonable to start small for a few days to build the habit before diving in to the heavy duty stuff.
Get used to moving during that time block. Get up and walk the dog down the block for 10 minutes every morning for a week. When your second week comes around, you will be able to get up and get moving and can add onto that ten minutes.
Get yourself to the place. If your goal is to get to the gym, drive yourself there. Once you're there, you already accomplished your goal. You can walk for 10 minutes on the treadmill or even just stretch - you already accomplished your goal. Make your goal that you will drive to the gym that week, instead of focussing on getting 7 workouts done
Add space between your habits. Knowing that you only have to complete this habit 3 times a week instead of 7 will make it easier and more manageable to actually get it done.
Tiny habits and starting small is the key to starting anything. “When you go tiny, you don’t need to rely on willpower or motivation,′ Fogg writes. “Tiny will grow bigger, just like a seed grows into a tree.”
Plan Your Day
Planning your day sets you up for success. This can be on paper or by planning and getting things ready for your day in advance. You are more likely to stick to your plans and goals when you spend the time to pencil them in or make that commitment tangible in a planner or even your notes app! When you know what you are going to do the next day, it is easier to setup for your day ahead of time. When your day is set up ahead of time, you can get up and roll right into that routine without spending time in the morning trying figure out your schedule. Planning your day out (even loosely!) takes the guess work out of the question AND prevents you from last minute dropping out on your wellness routine.
Here are some examples of how you can prepare for your day and set yourself up for success:
Write down your priorities for the next day in your notes app before bed
Lay out your workout clothes (and socks!) before bed
Set up your water bottle or pre-workout ready to go for the next day.
Keep your workout clothes packed in your car so you can hit the gym after work.
Have 3 main tasks to accomplish every day (work wise, self care wise, and fun wise)
Download a digital planner template or free planner app to use on the go
The expression "treat yourself" is seen everywhere ( especially on corny journal covers and Forever 21 T-shirts) and I promise this point has more to it than just that. Rewarding yourself is actually a crucial part of getting a habit to stick. Two of the most popular books about the science of habit (Atomic Habits & The Power of Habit) strongly emphasize the need to reward the self after completing goals for your brain to make a positive connection with the habit and make it habitual. There are small rewards you can give yourself that are free or low-in price to really help make the habit stick. Remember punishing yourself or restriction is so not in these days. Some examples of rewards to give yourself weekly or biweekly after sticking to your goals are:
A Starbucks drink
A bubble bath and wine
Your favorite dessert
A self care night
Workout clothes (aka these addicting affordable Amazon dupes)
Something.you can collect (stickers, magnets, buttons, crystals)
Your favorite takeout
Now if you had that inner guilt about rewarding yourself and letting yourself have desserts and take out, it's time to let go of that believe. If you have the notion you have that these things are bad for you is not true! You need to have balance to positively acclimate the habit into your life (and you do deserve it) According to research on habits by B.J Fogg, By congratulating yourself after completing the habit, you will be more likely to repeat it.
The number one thing that comes up with clients when they want to get back into a routine or embark on lifestyle changes like working out frequently and improving their diet, they want to tackle too many things at once. It is a great thing to be motivated and have many goals, but you have to be realistic and ease the brain and body into these things.
Narrow it down to one fitness goal, one nutrition goal, one self care goal and work on those for a week or two
Consider your availability - maybe working out 3 times a week is much more realistic for your lifestyle than 5 times a week.
Focus on how you can add in to improve your nutrition habits instead of focussing on what to restrict or take out from them.
Put aside a 15 minute block of time for your self care, if you find it hard to dedicate a full hour every evening to yourself.
Change it Up
Change is good! It shocks the system a bit and propels you out of your comfort zone. It can really get the ball rolling when you want to get into a routine. You can use the advice of starting small and do something slightly different in your day to day to encourage your system. Some examples of changing up your routine:
Wear a different piece of clothing than you do day to day, something that makes you feel confident.
Start your morning with a 5 minute mediation
Take 5 minutes to stretch in the AM
Bring a reusable water bottle with you during the day
Try an outside workout
Try a new workout class!
Go to the gym or your class at a different hour
Wear your hair differently to workout
Remember, to experience growth in any area of your life, you have to do things differently. Doing the same things the exact same way will get you the same results. I know trying something new can seem scary or hard, but when you push through that, there is that change you want on the other side.