The power of a daily routine is no big news. Everyone knows that a healthy routine that somehow includes healthy food, regular exercise, socialisation and down time as well as some meditation can be the catalyst to a woman’s success in life and business.
So how come so few actually manage to stick to a routine? Beside the all too common sense of overwhelm in life, routines require you to change your habits.
In “Keeping the brain in mind”, the author Shawn Carson demonstrates very well how habits only stick when performed regularly.
For all those undertaking change work (like we do in Womanity Wonders) it is essential to understand this concept. Once you’ve gone through the technique that will lead to a new upgraded habit for yourself (either in health, mindset, productivity strategies, etc.) it is essential for you to remain aware of the clear actions that need to be taken in order to sustain that change long term.
Think about smokers. So many fail to remain smoke-free for more than 12 months simply because they lack the discipline to maintain their new habit long enough that they permanently change their neural connections.
A study reveals: “almost 70 percent of American smokers want to quit, and more than half tried last year, but only 6 percent succeeded.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Quitting Smoking Among Adults)
This is a huge 94% of people who start with good intentions, suffer through the first two weeks of intense withdrawal symptoms and then relapse within the first year of their life as non-smokers.
Here’s your chance to beat the odds by applying these three very simple but powerful strategies to help you support your new routine:
1. Change Only One Thing At A Time.
When exposed to an exciting new way of living, that being a new diet, exercise plan, release of bad habit like smoking or drugs or even a morning routine that includes multiple action steps (meditate, read, journal, set your intentions, exercise, etc.) people tend to want to do it all at once.
That’s usually when they have the lease chance of sticking to the routine for more than a few days, a few weeks if they’re tenacious.
A habit beings in the brain. The brain has been trained to perform a certain task a certain way by means of daily (or frequent) repetitions.
When you commit to a new routine, you are challenging the “old” ways to get the benefits of the “new” ways. And although logically it makes sense, as soon as you drop your focus for a moment, your pre-recorded habit will play itself.
That’s when you reach in the fridge for the last piece of cake.
That’s when you send a guilty text message to your personal trainer cancelling your session as you turn on Netflix.
That’s when you hit “snooze” on your alarm clock instead of getting up to perform your new routine.
We’ve all done it. It’s part of being human!
When you commit to one change at a time only, you are MUCH more likely to succeed. That’s because it is significantly easier for your brain to adjust to one significant change at a time.
If you must change more than one thing (which is very often the case), plan your transition smartly by changing one thing at a time. Stick to the new habit for as long as needed (one week to three months minimum depending on how challenging that new habit is for you) and until it feels natural to do it.
Then move on to adding the next step. And repeat again and again.
If you find yourself dropping one habit after a while, get back to it before moving on to adding another one.
For long term success in sustaining a new routine, maintain the habits you’ve already spent time working on. This will be more important than reaching your big goal sooner as it will literally keep you away from temptation and possible failure.
2. Give Your Word To Someone You Care About.
When you commit verbally to a loved one (best friend, sibling, parent, partner, etc.) about your intention to accomplish something significant in your life, you will create powerful accountability for yourself.
Here’s the trick, it’s essential to speak up that commitment and not just send it in an email or text message. Your voice has power and your accountability will be much greater by asking for it in person.
This strategy is here to cover the second phase of your new routine installation process.
For the first week or two, you usually have enough internal motivation to push through the discomforts that your new routine bring to you to push through.
As time goes on, life often tends to become less structured and that’s when exceptions start to slowly make their way into your life. That’s when phase two begins.
You’ll often have good excuses (and even great ones!) to convince yourself that it’s “just this one time”… until you realise that the more weeks go by, the more exceptions creep in. Your motivation takes a hit and you feel like you’ve let yourself down.
Familiar feelings, right?!
Well, this is less likely to happen if you’ve given your word to a loved one. Because on top of feeling that you let yourself down, you’ll also have to deal with letting them down.
This is a great way to tap into getting external motivation when you don’t have it in you to commit to your routine on that day.
3. Wear A Commitment Bracelet.
As you begin your journey into your new routine, get yourself a simple bracelet that you use as a daily reminder of your commitment.
And yes, it can be a ring, or a watch or anything else that will be super obvious to you to wear and not easy to forget. Pick something you wouldn’t normally wear so it stands out. Or wear it on the wrist that is usually jewellery free.
When you put on that bracelet every morning, you can create a mini-ritual around putting it on where you voice clearly your commitment to your new routine and what the action step(s) is for the day.
Same thing as for giving your word to a loved one, if you speak up, it will have more impact. That’s something easy to do in the shower, while you cook breakfast or as you drive to work.
Every time that you see, feel or think about your commitment bracelet, you will be reminded of your commitment and find it harder to stray from it.
Do you need extra support to upgrade your habits? Join an incredible support group of like-minded power women dedicated to living life to its potential, achieving lasting success without burnin-out in the process. Explore Womanity Wonders now!