Hacks For Sticking To Morning & Nightly Routines

If you're like me, your morning and evening "routine" means you routinely are forced to skip something important to your well-being. And I have a feeling a lot of you are like me — otherwise there wouldn't be countless articles out there on how to stick to a daily routine. We'd all be perfect, robotic routine experts, and we wouldn't need articles.

In a piece on daily routines, Meg Selig, Psychology Today blogger and author of Change Power! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success, said that, "If you've got a good routine set up — say a morning routine of breakfast-exercise-shower-dress-commute, you've freed yourself from a lot of small decisions that could slow you down or capture valuable brainspace that you'd prefer to use for something else. You can now go on autopilot and still accomplish your goals. In this way, paradoxically, a good routine can be freeing."

Sociologists and UC Berkeley Happiness Expert Christine L. Carter said, "Habits are a critical component of the happiness equation...You know that you should exercise and meditate and eat kale, for example. But do you often do those things? Perhaps the missing piece is a habit."

If you're struggling to stick to a morning and evening routine that you know will improve your quality of life —whether it be as simple as taking vitamins or as involved as meditating — take a look at these seven hacks for sticking to a morning and evening routine.

1. Plan It Out

In an article for Coach.Me, life coach Elin Themer stressed planning out your new routine down to a T when you first begin to implement it. Thermer herself practices a 10-part morning routine that gets her from 7:00 to 8:45 in the morning every day, that even includes small things like drinking a glass of water. Once the routine becomes habit, you'll no longer have to write it down or think about it.

2. Get The Sleep You Need

Getting enough sleep is vital for sticking to a routine, as it means you won't oversleep in the morning or crash into bed at night, neglecting all your well-intentioned plans. On his personal site, writer and life coach Chris Winfield said that he used to set himself up on the wrong foot every single morning, starting from the moment he woke up sleep deprived, pressing snooze at least a couple times every day. He also noted that a solid evening routine in which you thoroughly decompress is inextricably tied to a positive morning routine, as you're setting yourself up for feeling rested the next morning.

3. Create Reminders

Behavioral science writer James Clear, author of Transform Your Habits, stressed that it's incredibly important to set reminders for yourself when first establishing a routine on his own site, "Getting motivated and trying to remember to do a new behavior is the exact wrong way to go about it. If you’re a human, then your memory and your motivation will fail you. A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to remember to do your new habit," Clear said. For example, if you want incorporate flossing into your evening routine, make sure the floss is right next to your toothbrush, as opposed to stored out of site in the cabinet. This way you've already eliminated a hurdle to sticking to your goal.

4. Make It Easy For Yourself

Similar to keeping your floss out, this tip is all about limiting obstacles to sticking to a routine. For example, according to an article from Best Health, you should keep your vitamins by your coffee maker so that it's incredibly easy to take them every single morning. Similarly, if you want to make sure you remove your makeup and moisturize every single night, keep makeup remover wipes right by your bed, making it easy for you to do even when you're tired.

5. Trick Yourself

Clear also recommended tricking yourself when it comes to maintaining a routine. "If you want to start a new habit and begin living healthier and happier, then I have one suggestion that I cannot emphasis enough: Start small. Make it so easy that you can’t say no," Clear said. For example, if you're trying to stick to exercising as part of your morning routine, but don't feel like moving, then tell yourself you'll move for five minutes. "In the beginning, performance doesn’t matter. Become the type of person who always sticks to your new habit. You can build up to the level of performance that you want once the behavior becomes consistent," Clear said.

6. Commit To 30 Days

Leo Babauta, founder of Zen Habits, recommended committing to a new routine for 30 days. "Make it a 30-day Challenge," he said. "Give yourself rewards, commit to it in public, post your routines up on the wall at home and near your desk, and don’t have any other goals or habit changes going on while you do this. If you can really put your energy and focus into it for 30 days, it will become more automatic and require less energy.

7. Stack Your New Habits On Old Ones

In a piece for The HuffPost Blog on how to make a new routine stick, leadership writer Tyler Tervooren recommended stacking new habits onto ones already in your routine. If you want to try to mediate in the morning, add one minute of mediation right after your usual cup of tea or coffee, and eventually the practices will go hand-in-hand. Or if you want to begin taking better care of your hair, put some moisturizing product right next to your usual facial moisturizer for a seamless incorporation into your evening ritual. An entire morning and evening of good habits can start by stacking.

Sticking to routines that make your life better shouldn't feel impossible or totally unattainable in your busy life. Just be clear with your goals and precise with your actions at first, and eventually they'll feel like second nature.

Images: Pexels (1); Andreanna Moya Photography, Sonny Abesamis/Flickr; Giphy (5)