Have you ever developed a great routine or habit and felt amazing? You’re exercising regularly, eating well and producing effective results at work. You feel on your game, and nothing can get in your way.
You may ask yourself, “Why haven’t I always been like this?”
Then all of a sudden, something throws you off course and you begin falling out of habit. It can be as small as overindulging during the weekend or missing a few workout days consecutively, and then your routine becomes difficult again.
Everything feels like you’re pushing a boulder up a hill. What happened?
Falling Out Of Habit
I had the pleasure of tying the knot a few weeks ago, and anyone who’s gotten married knows how hectic the week leading up to it can be. So I gave myself permission to let my guard down and forget about my habits and routine.
I wanted to relax and enjoy myself without accountability. But unfortunately, it ended costing me more than expected.
During that week I intentionally avoided my habits. When I thought about meditating, I opted to lounge on the couch instead. When I thought about eating healthy, I opened the fridge to indulge in the carb-filled foods and sugary desserts that were at my disposal.
I went over the edge by choice, because I wanted to experience what it’d be like to be free from my habits again. I quickly realized that I didn’t feel relaxed or free at all. On the contrary, I felt off balance.
My habits and routines were structures I built to work and feel optimal. By letting them go, I lost that feeling. I realized that I found freedom in sticking to my habits because that is where I was at my best.
Although this time was by choice, it’s not the first time I began falling out of habit.
There is an ebb and flow to the degree in which we can live. Trying to be at your best all the time is not sustainable. Although it’s a goal to strive for, it’s one that’s usually out of reach.
Life is filled with disorder, which will throw your routine off balance. Therefore the importance lies not in falling out of habit, but rather having a plan to come back to it.
Developing a Plan
Like anything else, the best way to tackle a challenge is to develop a plan. You can’t be at your best every day and some weeks will feel better than others. But there are tactics you can use to stay or get back on track.
The Proactive Approach
Why wait until you’ve hit the bottom of the ladder to start climbing up again?
First identifying when you are feeling off balance, determine the root cause and focus your efforts on correcting it. My root cause was letting go of all my habits. Therefore focusing on implementing my routine before falling out of habit would help me stay the course.
However, when stressed, anxious or lacking sleep – you will usually fall back into old routines. The further you sway from your medium the harder it will be to get back on track.
That being said, it’s difficult to be proactive. Therefore having a safety net for when things do go wrong is good practice.
The Reactive Approach
When being proactive, sometimes you can’t or don’t act in your best interest, for whatever the reason. Nevertheless, there are ways to help boost your motivation and bounce back quicker.
It came as a surprise the weeks following my wedding, how difficult it was to get back on track. I had invested a lot of effort and time into creating these routines, why were they so fragile?
Like anyone my discipline has fluctuated, but never to this point. Here I was two weeks into giving up my good habits, and it was an upward battle to put everything back in place.
That being said, it wasn’t close to as hard as when I started, but back then I only incorporated one habit at a time.
Here I was trying to wake up early, go run, meditate, eat healthy, become disciplined in my work routine, etc. I felt like I had all these factors playing against me.
It was getting cold for my mornings runs, the fridge was filled with leftovers, after waking up at 8-9am for the past two weeks, 6am felt uncomfortable.
So I went back to the basics and began implementing one habit at a time.
First step was to get up early. A few days after doing that, I incorporated more regular morning runs. Then I emptied my fridge of any unhealthy food and replaced it with good stuff and became disciplined in my work habits.
The process was expedited, and by implementing one good habit at a time, I was able to get back into my flow. I now have greater respect for my habits and routines. For the positive effects they contribute to my well-being and where I am without them.
So how do you get back into a routine when falling out of habit? First be self-aware when you start heading off course. Then have a plan in place on how you’re going to get back on track.
If you’d like to learn the tools I used to develop my routine, download my Habit Hacks Guide. You’ll find 6 success tools in boosting your productivity, taking action and developing habits.
Get back on your game, where you feel like nothing can get in your way!