Personal development

Routinely Overwhelmed – Why You Fall Off Your Routine and What to Do About it

Maybe your routine is structured in such a way that you don't realize it, but it's causing you to fail essentially.

It’s your girl Courtney Sanders with another episode. Welcome back to my podcast. We’re up to like 71 episodes. This is pretty good. I’m pretty proud of myself. I can’t wait till we get to 100 and we’re getting close. But anyway, today we’re talking about routines, which I guess is winning because your girl has been sticking to her routine. Can you believe it? I’ve been sticking to my routine with this podcast. I’ve been sticking to my routine at home. I’ve been sticking to my routines with mothering, with business, with all of it. And it doesn’t mean that I’ve been perfect by any means, but it does mean that I’m making progress as you heard from my progress makes a perfect episode and I’m achieving the results that I want to achieve in my life.  I’m making progress, which is essentially all you could ask for.  

And so I really want that to be the same for you. I actually got the idea to do this episode after reviewing responses from a survey I actually did a while ago. I sent out when I first rebranded my business and I had quite a few people answer it. Thank you. Thank you. If you’re one of those people, this past weekend I was reviewing your answers all over again and what was really interesting was the way I set up that survey, I had it divided based on what your primary focus was.

So if you are primarily focused in business, the survey would automatically ask you questions related to your business. If you are primarily interested in personal development stuff or working on your life would ask you questions about that. If you were working on your money, it would ask you questions about that. 

The survey kind of automatically gave people different questions based on what their primary focus was. It was really interesting and I noticed this as I was analyzing the responses over again this past weekend was that it doesn’t matter what category someone said was their primary focus. A lot of the responses,  the vast majority of them all said something to the effect of needing help with time management, really struggling with sticking to the routine or coming up with the routine, to begin with, with being consistent. They always get really gung ho, create a plan, do good with it for a little while and then fall off. And also I was reading that I was shocked honestly that it crossed so many. 

I was surprised that it was so universal. I guess that’s a better way to say it, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because this used to be the case for me, right? I’m not a superhero nor I’m perfect. I used to deal with that as well. You guys know my story, procrastination and lack of self-discipline was probably the biggest hurdle I had to overcome in my early twenties, which then led me down this path in terms of personal development and then ultimately talking about this stuff online and creating my business and all of that. But this whole time management and self-discipline consistency, all of it were like so instrumental into me really moving forward with the things that I wanted to do. And so I was like, you know what? This is a bad guest topic. 

We’re talking about it on the podcast because I know that many of you are routinely overwhelmed. So today we’re talking about why that is, why our routines so hard to stick to and what are some things that you can keep in mind, some things that you can think of in order to stick to your routine going forward. Because if you can do it, I’m telling you from personal experience it makes all the world of difference. 

Self-discipline and routines is like wearing a good bra. Sorry guys for the guys that are listening to this. But seriously, I mean, if you speak with any stylists or you know, image consultant or whatever, or you just want to give yourself a makeover or you lose weight, you gain weight, you have a baby, you know, whatever body changes.

What are the first things that people tell you? They’re like, you need to go get some new undergarments. Why? Because your undergarments hold you in. You know, it’s like the structure for your outfit. So if you look sloppy on the outside but you’re like, I don’t get it. These designer clothes, I spent a lot of money on them. Why am I not looking good? So you know, any stylist worth their salt is going to be like, let’s check to make sure you’re wearing the right bra size. Let’s check to make sure you have on the proper undergarments. Why? Because it holds you in. It’s like the blank canvas that you can create. You know, you’re beautiful liquidous in terms of everything else and you know, your dress and your shoes and all that stuff. And so a routine is the exact same way. 

Let’s talk about why you keep falling off your routine, and why it doesn’t ultimately work. You got to get this down. If you can get your routine down seriously, you can, you can conquer the world, you can do anything. I find that this is especially important for women because just with all the responsibilities at most women have, especially if you’re married or if you have kids, women have less margin of error in terms of,  you know, time management because there are just so many things that fall on our shoulders. So, I guess the bra is a good analogy because women are the only ones that wear bras.

It’s like a really good undergarment, but you want to make sure that it fits and that it’s not digging into you. So if you’ve been struggling with getting your business off the ground or getting your finances together or, getting healthy, getting in shape, your issue might not be the business or the money or your fitting, there’s a program or whatever the issue might be, your routine. Maybe your routine is structured in such a way that you don’t realize it, but it’s causing you to fail essentially.

Notes from the Podcast:

Why Routines Don’t Work

1.    They’re too strict and inflexible.

So just like the bra analogy, it fits or doesn’t fit. Your routine, like most of y’all bras don’t fit right. They’re too strict. They’re too inflexible. It’s digging into your sides. Now a routine can feel the exact same way. We sit down and create a routine that we think to make sense and that we think is going to help us achieve our goals, but it doesn’t fit our lives. We create these rigid plans and it’s almost like our subconscious knows that this is like some garbage. Like we sit down and we create this beautiful routine. Usually, we do this at the beginning of the year or like around our birthday or New Year’s or you know, whatever, whatever. 

We focus exclusively on the end result that we want in our lives, um, and the things that we want to achieve and we create a routine that we think is going to help us achieve that. But we don’t take into account our actual lives. We don’t take account into account anything. Really. All we look at is like, okay, what is going to help me reach my goal?

Everything that you’ve put down on a little paper with your sparkly pens and the beautiful $50 planner or notebook, yeah, those things might help you achieve your goals. But did you ask the right question though? Does this fit your lifestyle? 

So a lot of times we create routines that we think are going to help us achieve a particular goal, but we don’t really take into consideration if they actually fit our lifestyles. So you have to think about your lifestyle.

2.    We build routines based on our time and not our energy.

Let’s say you are working on a routine and you recognize that even though you know I’m doing these things will help you achieve your goal faster. You just don’t have the time for that. So let’s say you create a routine that actually fits your time.

So let’s say you take into account your time, you look at your time and there and you’re like, okay great. Instead, I am going to attend this meeting once a month and I’m going to do this type of marketing online one evening a week. So you successfully took into account your time, but the question is, did you take into account your energy? 

So here’s the thing, just because you have eight hours of free time in your day, or 10 hours of free time or two hours of free time, I don’t know how much free time you have on a day to day basis doesn’t mean you have x, y, z hours of free energy. This is where I see a lot of people make mistakes when it comes to creating a routine that actually works and that they’re actually going to stick to. A lot of times they fall off, not because they didn’t have the time, but because they didn’t have the energy.

So for your routine, you have to take that into consideration in terms of the different things that you’re scheduling, at different hours of the day. Just because you have the hours available doesn’t mean you have the energy available. And then also you have to build in downtime in your routine. That’s another mistake that I see people make as well.

3.    We are confused about our priorities.

So an example is let’s say you spend like an hour cooking every single night and when people ask you why do you do that? And you’re like, well it’s a priority. You want to feed your family healthy, non-GMO organic meals. It’s super important. Well, maybe the priority is just feeding your family healthy home cooked meals, but the priority isn’t cooking per se.

So technically you could achieve this result of feeding your family, healthy, non-GMO, whatever meals maybe by subscribing to a meal kit or a meal plan preparation or just paying a meal prep service or something. And that’s just an example.

4.    We think we have to do everything ourselves.

Even if you’re not like the richest person in the world, it’s really common to have help and support in terms of dealing with your children. Like if it’s not someone that you can hire, typically there’s a relative Auntie, grandma, somebody or several people are going to be around in order to support you and make sure that you’re just not having to do all this stuff. Just with your child alone. 

And so I find that that’s really common in other cultures, there’s this implicit understanding that all the responsibilities that might fall on you specifically might fall on a woman, doesn’t necessarily mean that that woman has to do everything that she’s responsible for you. You might be responsible for some things, but you have other people in your life, whether that’s people that you hire, other family members, friends, like there’s just a general disposition and attitude of like, we’re all in this together.

5.    You don’t ask yourself what is the minimum required for you to achieve your goal.

So you want to get into a habit of asking yourself what is the minimum required in order to achieve whatever result that I’m looking for. So let’s say you come up with a new business idea, you’re building your side hustle and you’re like, man, I need to find my first client instead of assuming that you need to get on Instagram and then because you’re on Instagram, you need to take all these photos. 

You just created a month of work. Just that alone in terms of getting to be on Instagram, but did you ever ask yourself, is this required in order for me to achieve my goal, which is getting my first client. Guess what? You might not need to even be on Instagram in order to get your first client for your side hustles, which is a whole another discussion in terms of side hustle marketing and all of that.

But I find, especially in the business sector, a lot of new entrepreneurs tend to overcomplicate things and assume that they need to do work, that they see other people doing other people who are way ahead of them, other people who have different business models, other people who’ve got a whole different thing going on. 

It might just be as simple as you need to spend 15 minutes a night perusing Craig’s list for someone who’s looking for whatever your side hustle is. It literally could be that simple and maybe you take 15 minutes to find people who are looking for stuff on Craigslist and 15 minutes to respond to various posts or whatever that it might just be that simple, which again, would make your routine live totally different. 

So make sure you know it’s actually required in order to achieve your goals. Most of the time it’s a lot less than you think and you want to make sure that you’re not necessarily just assuming that what somebody else did is what you need to do because other people have completely different circumstances as so you want to be taking that into account. 

6.    You’re not flowing with the natural rhythms of your day.

This kind of relates to the energy piece that we talked about, but also this relates to habits. In the book called     The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he talks about this concept of how we want to build habits. We kind of have to create like a chain where the habit is preceded by a particular cue. Basically, you replaced the activity with whatever the cue is happening, you replace the bad activity with good activity.

And so that just shows the power of changing our behaviors are changing of the things that we want to get done. Two other things that are already happening that we already do. And so it’s the same thing with your routine. If you can’t stick to your routine, it’s usually because the actions that you are trying to build into your routine or not chained to anything. So make sure you’re building your routine to flow with the natural rhythms of your day.

7.    You try to overhaul your routine all at once.

This was the hardest thing for me to learn because I am impatient when I make it up in my mind that I want to change my life, I want to change my life immediately. I want to change my life. Like yesterday when I set a goal, I want to achieve the goal like tomorrow.  

And when I decided that I’m going to be doing something different or something new or whatever, like I wish I could just snap my fingers and it just, you know, the results be here. And so I used to be one of these people who would have all these goals and create this routine and I would just try to like do all the things at once and inevitably I failed at it because it was too many changes at once.

So if there’s nothing else you take from today’s podcast episode, please, if you’re going to try to apply these tips and overhaul your routine, don’t do everything at once. Pick one area, not two, not three, one area in your life that you want to build a routine around. Pick that, focus on implementing it and do not move on to another routine until you’ve got that down. 

Ask yourself, what is the one sore spot? What is the one thing that is having like the biggest negative domino effect and in your life for you it might be keeping the house clean? You know, if you’re like me and you’re just totally unproductive. If the house is messy and even though it seems stupid and it’s like, there are things that are more important than keeping the house clean. Yeah, I know, but when the house isn’t clean, I can’t get anything done that’s big for you. Then you need to work on your house. Keeping a routine, just focus on that. Whether you’re going to do it yourself, you’re going to hire somebody, whatever. 

So to summarize, the first reason you can’t stick to your routine is that it’s too strict and inflexible. The second reason is that you keep trying to build your routine around your time and not your energy. The third reason is that you’re confused about your priorities. The fourth reason is that you think you have to do everything yourself and you never bring other people in. The fifth reason is that you don’t know what’s really required in order to achieve your goal. 

And so you’re doing random tasks that won’t actually help you and are just taking up a bunch of time. The sixth reason is that your routine doesn’t flow with the natural rhythms of your day, both in terms of your energy and those cues that we talked about that are happening. And the seventh and final reason is that you try to overhaul your routine all at once. So I hope this is helpful. I hope you will no longer be routinely overwhelmed and you’ll create an amazing routine that you can actually stick to see in the next episode. 

Bye. Bye.

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