I think we can all agree that deciding to make changes in our lives is fairly easy. We do it all the time. Often on a weekly basis.
We want to be healthier, fitter, more productive, less busy, drink less, drink more (water, obviously), get more sleep, or be less glued to our screens.
But actually making those changes in your life, and getting them to stick, now that’s easier said than done!
And when it comes to making changes in your routine, it can be even harder. Because your routine, by definition, is something you do all the time. And so actually changing it takes effort and some serious strategies.
And you may have tried to make changes in the past, but found that you were not able to stick to them. And so now you’re feeling a little weary about jumping on board the “‘I’m gonna make a change” train again. This is completely normal! But let’s not let that stop you!
It takes determination to decide to change your routine, but in practice, you need consistency and key strategies to stick with the changes.
In this blog post, we will provide some tips for making changes that last. Follow these tips, and you will be on your way to a new routine that will soon be old news!
1. Make a Plan
All great change starts as an idea. So the first strategy for making a new routine you’ll actually stick with is to figure out what you want to change.
And then write this down. Research says we’re more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. Writing down your goals, or in this case, the new routine you want to build and the new habits you want to form helps make them tangible. They become real, not just lofty ideas. And because they’re real, you can then take actual steps to make these ideas a reality.
2. Start Small
Start small? Isn’t that a little counter-intuitive to the whole “go big or go home” philosophy the world tends to favor. But if you want to make changes that last, trust me, start small.
It’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed when we try to tackle too many changes at once. Or fall back into old ways and habits if we try for big changes too quickly. So if you want change that lasts, take it slow. Start with one small, new habit or routine you want to build, and work to master it.
And then, once that becomes part of your daily life, you can add on another change. And then another. Small steps achieve great gains in the long run.
A great book on the subject of starting small is Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s full of evidence of why starting small works, and it’s packed with actionable strategies to help make those changes stick. It’s a really useful guide if you’re tired of trying to change and falling short.
3. Keep Yourself Accountable
A really effective way to achieve change, alter your habits, and successfully build your new routine is to get your family and friends on board. They don’t have to do anything, but they can keep you accountable. Share with your trusted friends and family about your new routine or the new habit you want to form, and they can help you stick with it.
By verbalizing your intentions to someone other than yourself, firstly, you make them real. But secondly, and the reason this strategy works, is because if we know we are accountable to someone other than ourselves, we are way more likely to stick with it. So utilize the power of support, and share your goals with your friends and family, and let them help you build that new routine.
4. Find a Support Group
And speaking of support, here’s our fourth strategy for sticking to your new routine…find a support group. No matter what new habit you’re trying to form, or what you’re trying to change in your daily routine, you will likely be able to find support of some kind, be that in a form of a local group or club, or one you find on the Internet.
You’re more likely to stick with something if you have others doing it with you. And this is especially true when it comes to making changes in your routine.
For instance, if you’re looking to add morning workouts to your routine, you could sign up to classes at your local gym, or join a running club in your area. These offer you the support and camaraderie of other’s who share your goal. You’re more likely to stick with your new routine if you have others alongside you, cheering you on.
So get connected and you’ll get those changes to stick!
5. Get Rid of Temptations
This one sounds logical, but you’ll be surprised at how often this strategy is overlooked! So don’t let that be you!
If you want to make changes that last, you need to make it as easy as possible to consistently do the thing you want to do. And an easy way to make things easy is to remove all the temptations that may trip you up and have you back in your old ways.
If you’re looking to cut down on the distractions while you’re working, put your phone somewhere out of sight, so you’re not tempted to grab it in between tasks to try solve today’s Wordle!
If you want to spend less time on social media, put timers on your social apps which disables them after a certain amount of time has past.
If you want to eat better, remove unhealthy foods from your refrigerator and pantry.
Do whatever you need to do to make your new habit the path of least resistance. You’ll find it that much easier to stick to your changes, as they’ll become habits much quicker. So remove those temptations!
6. Reward Your Progress
Another often-overlooked strategy for sticking to your routine is to reward your progress! Changing your routine or building a new habit does not have to be an unpleasant experience! Yes, it’s hard, but it does not have to be unpleasant!
Build yourself a little rewards program for each milestone you achieve. It can be as simple as 10-15 minutes of relaxation time or a good cup of coffee from your favorite cafe. But by having a something to look forward to at the end of a certain milestone, you’ll be more motivated to do the work in order to reach said milestone. A winning strategy in our book!
7. Don’t Give Up
Last, but certainly not least, don’t give up! Be patient with your progress and be kind to yourself. Changing your routine isn’t going to happen overnight. And you won’t wake up tomorrow with all your new habits you’ve decided to form today. But with time and effort you’ll be able to stick to it for good!
But the bottom line is don’t give up. If you miss a day, or you fall back into old habits, it’s okay! You haven’t failed, and the journey isn’t over. Don’t quit! Try again until it sticks!
So there you have it, seven strategies to help you stick to your new routine. remember, Rome, or anywhere else for that matter, was not built in a day, so don’t expect changes in your routine to happen overnight. But with time and effort you’ll be able to stick to it for good!
Make small changes, keep yourself accountable, and find a support group, and you’ll be well on your way to changes that stick!
Remove temptations, reward yourself, and, perhaps most importantly, be kind to yourself. And before you know it, those changes will become habits!
Related read: How Can I Overcome Procrastination? 7 Strategies for Success