If you’re struggling to build a routine, these 11 steps are all you need to follow:
- Start slow
Our body and mind resists change.
So we have to trick our body and mind, by making the change happen slowly.
For example: You wake up at 8am and want to wake up at 6am instead?
Set the alarm for 7:50am (10 mins earlier than usual).
Acclimatise your body and mind to this small change for 2-3 weeks.
Post that, another small change.
Over a period of a few months, you would get to a routine of 6am.
- Measure progress
If you find a way to measure progress along the way, you will enjoy the routine a lot more than reaching the destination.
For example: Reading can be a difficult routine to establish. Because we attach the joy to finishing a book.
Try this instead.
Read 1 page every day.
And document that progress.
Put a big calendar on the wall and cross out the day you read a page.
When you see that big calendar with multiple crosses in a streak – THAT will make you feel like a winner!
- The 2-min rule
The hardest thing about a routine is getting started.
The 2-min rule says – whatever it is that you want to set as a routine, do it for just 2 mins.
Slowly, you will get used to it.
- Temptation bundling
Bundle what you like to do and what you want to do as part of a routine.
For example: You like watching YouTube, but you want to have a study routine.
So, you could watch your course content on YouTube — tutorials, discussions, animations, etc.
- Habit stacking
Combine what you are already used to with something you want to build a habit for.
For example: Let’s say you want to set a skincare routine.
So you could say, as soon as I have brushed my teeth, I will start my skin routine.
- Win the week
We often want to win EVERY day.
Do everything that we want to do, in a single day itself.
Instead, plan your week and try to do everything you want to do, within a week.
- Reward yourself
If you do what you want to do, reward yourself with something you would cherish.
For example: I have distraction time scheduled for 3 slots everyday, for 30 mins each.
This is my reward for doing all the things I have to do in the day.
8) Build in public
Publicly announce your habit.
Make yourself accountable to someone outside of you.
For example: You tell your friend – I will send you a picture of my watch at the time I get up everyday. Or else, I will pay you XX amount.
You are more likely to follow an action, if you already have some form of commitment towards it.
For example: Paying in advance for the gym membership, the book club, the sports coaching, etc.
10) Stay flexible
A routine is not designed to make you rigid.
It’s okay if you broke the routine today.
Come back to it tomorrow.
11) What if?
Close your eyes and visualise what will happen if you are unable to build this routine.
More importantly, if you do build this routine – how will it change your life?