Simple ways to stop making excuses to yourself.
October 6, 2020
My exercise routine has fallen by the wayside. I used to practice yoga at my local studio three times a week, and it was so great for my mental and emotional wellbeing. But since the studio had to close back in March, I have gotten out of the habit of practicing regularly.
I’ll do an online session here or there, but more often than not, I find myself making excuses such as “I’m busy today, I’ll do it tomorrow, or “This week’s a bust, I’ll start again regularly next week.” In the summer, with all the outdoor activities I was doing, I could get away with it somewhat, but now with the fall here and the evenings getting darker and the days colder, I know I have to firm up my routine.
I know it’s not enough just to say, “I’ll do it,” I need to make firm goals to hold myself more accountable. I know how to do this. I’m a coach after all, and help people reach their goals every day!
So, here are my top tips that work for any new habit you want to make routine:
- Do it often. The more often you do something new, the easier it will become part of your life. If you do it once a week, it will be more challenging than doing it every day.
- Make it intentional. What will you do? When will you do it? Where will you do it? It’s too easy to say, “I’m going to start exercising three times a week,” but it will only become the norm when you make a firm plan for it. For example, I’m going to start walking, becomes I’m going to walk in the park on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9 am. Then…
- Schedule it on your calendar. Put everything on your calendar, from when you will pay your bills, to when you do your exercise to when you grocery shop and everything in between. Remember to allow time around the new habit to reduce stress. If you plan to read for an hour a day, put it on the calendar. It doesn’t have to be the same time every day, but you will make sure you always have time for it.
- Stack it onto an existing habit. In Atomic Habits by James Clear and he suggests if you put a new habit next to a current habit, it is easier to do. I wanted to start meditating each morning but couldn’t seem to do it regularly as part of my routine until I thought about stacking it onto other habits I did in my morning. Each morning I get up, have tea, feed the dogs, eat breakfast, have a shower, brush my teeth, then I am ready to move on with the rest of my day. I decided to put meditation after feeding the dogs (so I stand a chance of being left alone) before I eat breakfast. I had to lengthen my routine by fifteen minutes, but it was easy to slip in that new activity.
- Find a trigger – find something that reminds you to do the habit. Each time I reach into the fridge for an unhealthy snack I will pick up a healthy one instead. Every time I get in my car I will take three deep breaths. Every time I get to an elevator, I will use the stairs. You get the picture. Say it out loud and even write it down.
- Plan for what might get in your way? Set things up ahead of time so that it is as easy as possible when it is time to do your new habit. Prepare your space for meditation or exercise, prepare healthy easy to grab food and have it ready in the fridge ahead of time. Ask yourself, “What would stop me from doing X,” when you come up with the answers you can address them to reduce the chance of being derailed.
What new activity do you want to incorporate into your daily routine to become a good habit? Exercise, meditation, start a breathing practice, eat heathier meals, it could be anything you want to do more of.
Try these tips, and if you need more help with accountability and or perhaps a perception shift to see how you can make more time for the things you want to do, set up a free call with me.