As you begin to incorporate healthier habits into your life, one thing you will notice is that it can be hard to make those habits stick. It might have nothing to do with the type of habits you have in your routine, but the routine itself.
For new habits to stick, they need to have a realistic and convenient place in your life. This means choosing a daily routine where the habits naturally fit, and you won’t have to think too much about.
Here are some reasons why your routine matters when you are changing your daily habits.
Habits Don’t Become Habits Without a Routine
What makes a habit, a habit? Structure and routine. Repeating something so many times that it soon becomes a habit, or an activity you barely even have to think about. It is similar to driving home from work, using the same route you have used every day for years, and realizing you have been driving on auto pilot without realizing it. This same concept can be used when you are trying to add new habits into your life. If you are working on your nighttime routine, and you want to sleep better by not using your phone right before bed, then you need a nighttime routine that reminds you to turn your phone off well before sleep. This might include a few habits you already do in your nighttime routine that can trigger this new habit.
You can make adjustments to your daily routines that allow a logical place for your habits. The more you complete these habits within those routines, the easier they are to keep up with. Reading a chapter at night is much easier to do when it is part of your routine around that time.
Your Routine Helps Provide Cues for Your Habits
Cues and habit triggers are so impactful when it comes to changing your habits into healthier ones. Going back to the example of wanting to read at night instead of using your phone before bed, look at your current nighttime routine and find something that clues you into that new habit. When you are heading to bed, you may have had a habit of bringing your phone into bed with you. It was an automatic reaction because you had done it so many times before. What could provide a cue that you need to place your phone away from the bed and plug it in, without wanting to look at it while laying down?Maybe when you get your pajamas from your dresser at night, you have a charging station on top of your dresser where you place your phone at night to charge. Just seeing the charging station or USB cord as you get your pajamas can cue to and trigger that habit of leaving your phone there, instead of bringing it into bed with you.
A Good Routine Builds New Habits Upon Existing Ones
This is also known as habit stacking, which was made popular by James Clear in his bestselling book, Atomic Habits. Habit stacking is where you add a new habit onto a current habit you already have. It should make sense where one habit follows the other. If one of your habits at night is to make your lunch for the following day so that it is ready to grab and go when you had to work, what else could you prepare for the next day at that time? Maybe you want to lay out your workout clothes so you remember to do a morning workout when you wake up. These are both related to preparing for the next day, so it makes sense to stack them. Any time you add a new habit to your routine, it helps to stack it with other habits at that same time. It is another reason why your routine is vital to adding new habits to your life.
It Helps You Stay Accountable For Your Habit-Building Goals
Finally, you are able to stay more accountable when your habits are part of your daily routine. It can be really hard to remember and stay accountable for reading every day when it doesn’t really fit into your routine. When are you going to read? In what room will you do the reading? When do you have the time and privacy for reading?If it doesn’t fit anywhere in your current daily routines, you are not going to do it. This makes it almost impossible to stay accountable and actually do it every day.
Any change you make can take you in the right direction with enough time- which is why it is so important to start- just start with ONE thing. If you need a helpful tracker, look at my Free Guide to Thriving Thru Midlife & Menopause.
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