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  • mariasylvesterterr

3 reasons it's hard to keep a routine

"i know what i need to do... i just never do it!"

we've all uttered that sentence before, right? y'all, of course i know how to put my laundry away... but do i? eh, another story. i hear this sentiment often as a dietitian, especially as it relates to things like preparing food, practicing a regular habit, or sticking to a movement routine. there's a lot of reasons why we feel this way. as it pertains to nutrition and fitness, the following 3 stick out like unsuspecting thorns.

1. the self-judgment cycle this one might resonate the hardest. tell me if this story sounds familiar: you set a plan for the week for some meals, some movement, some self-care, and some top priorities in your life. an unexpected meteor hits your plans, and things have to change. suddenly, you hear it. The Voice Inside Your Head says, "another week of plans gone to shit. this always happens." quickly, this translates to "you can never stick to a plan." that is some loud all-or-nothing thinking! the next time you go to plan, you hear The Voice again: "making plans? cute, but you probably won't even keep them." one of the main reasons we "just never do the thing" has to do with the thick layer of self-judgment we apply to unexpected outcomes, mistakes, or failures. and as the cycle perpetuates, we get stuck! challenging your self-judgment is a beast, and it's worth every effort.

2. unattainable standards

another issue that gets us stuck? we set the bar too high. listen, i think you're brilliant, smart, and wonderful. would you believe me if i told you that you'd get more accomplished if you lowered the bar? we need to consider what 'success' looks like for each day, each week, each season of our lives. sometimes our fitness routine calls for 5 days in the gym. how unfair is it to apply that standard to yourself when your here-and-now life really calls for a few walks and a fitness class each week? no wonder we feel like we can't do anything! we aren't always in touch with our current capacities and individual needs. ask yourself this question this week: what does success look like for me this week? does this feel like this is taking the easy way out? reframe it: you're making adjustments! you'll hit your own nuanced standards with consistency! how good will that feel? 3. a crucial skipped step in the process i promise i'm not choosing violence when i say this: we can't skip the part where we are bad at something. we need to sit in the discomfort of being Not Great At Something. we need to practice. we need to approach failure with the same mindset as success. failure gives you something essential: data! so go ahead and make that nuanced plan for the week. if something doesn't work out, don't judge yourself. go back to the tape. play it back in slo-mo. what happened to the plan? what adjustments can you make next week to try again? this might be an unpopular sentiment, and i'm going to share it anyway. you're allowed to be bad at things. you're allowed to take your grand ol' time getting where you want to go. this has taken some unlearning: there's no need to rush.

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