Sometimes life happens and you lose a well-organized routine.
Maybe you went on a business trip or a long vacation. Maybe you moved in with someone and your daily rhythm crumbled. Maybe you let yourself go and didn’t notice until now.
Morning routines are usually the fastest to drop since just a few days of lack of sleep and regular work hours can completely erase the precious hours you were using after waking up.
It can be frustrating to remember how efficient you were and how much less you are now, can’t it?
After almost 2 months in France working during the night, I came back to Japan looking forward to getting back to my routine. But almost 2 weeks have passed and I find it hard to do so.
So let’s take into consideration actual steps to getting back on track.
Take a good look back
Nobody willingly decides to give up a positive routine. So something must have happened for you to lose it.
I had to go back to France and change my working hours which is what killed my routine. But what if the reason was different?
The majority of the time, routines disappear slowly, one step at a time, and that’s why we don’t notice it until it’s too late.
Maybe you like games and a tournament happens which prompts you to watch the World Cup as soon as you wake up. Maybe you’ve added a coffee in the morning with a friend, well-aware of the risk for your routine but believing you’d outwork yourself.
Or maybe since some parts just didn’t fit your long-term goals anymore, you dropped one part of it and unfortunately saw the balance of your routine crumble and completely disappear.
You need to reflect on why you lost it and whether it really is worth bringing back.
Why won’t it come back?
That’s it. You’ve decided you want it back, if not entirely at least partly.
You remember the set-up you had but can’t seem to make it work. This means that something is disrupting the routine’s return.
Look for the disrupting cause.
Maybe your flat’s furniture was moved and you don’t feel at ease anymore in the new space. Maybe you’ve given up on that french-press-made coffee in the morning which gave you a burst of motivation. Maybe a loss happened and you cannot get over it.
There are two ways to be disrupted after all:
- You need a change to create it again.
- You need to go back to how things were to rebirth it.
Find which one it is and work towards it.
Take your time
If you’re reading this, you’ve certainly already tried to get back into it and haven’t succeeded yet.
The problem is that you might just be impatient. After all, if you once had a good routine, why wouldn’t you be able to follow it anymore?
In reality, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve lost it, you’ve lost it. That’s a fact and whether you were able to follow it before or not should matter one bit.
If you want to go back to it, you’ll need to work on each step.
One at a time.
If you think the order is what allowed you to follow it well, start with the first thing on the list. If you think some of the tasks are more important, get working on those first.
Alright, you’ve chosen the order you want to handle things in. Great! Now how about your surroundings?
The best routines have well-organized triggers all-around you. Whether it is the running clothes next to your bed when you wake up, a specific sound or music popping up, or even just the first sip of coffee you have, something needs to trigger you.
It may even be a combination of all of those!
Remember what worked for you and verify if it doesn’t anymore. If it doesn’t indeed, then you need to find out why.
I know I am having trouble with my own routine because I have forgotten the exact trigger I had to start reading in the morning for instance. So, every single day, I try a different potential trigger to find out which one works best.
Set a start date
The common habit is to set an ultimatum for things.
“I’ll have it fixed by next Monday!”
But what if you can’t? Does that mean you’ll stop working on it? That would be a shame, wouldn’t it?
Instead, fix a date to start working on your routine again.
Decide that from this Friday onwards, you will start with the first item on your list to set that routine up again.
And then just tell yourself you’ll have it fixed one day. No need for specifics as long as you remember that the sooner the better!
Was that routine really the best?
Let’s be honest though. If you’ve lost the routine and are having trouble getting back into it, it means it wasn’t perfect for you.
If it were, you’d automatically get back into it or wouldn’t have lost it in the first place even!
Take a serious look at it and see what could be skipped, what could be added and create a routine 2.0.
Maybe this one will stick much better and you’ll never lose it again.
Or, you know, maybe you’ll do an even better 3.0 version next time around.