If I had a dollar for every client who tells me they need to get back to a healthy daily routine after Labor Day, I wouldn’t exactly be a rich woman, but I’d have a lot more dollars than I have now.
Many people (myself included) begin the Summer with great intentions of eating healthy, working out daily, and getting seven hours of sleep nightly.
But then the ice cream truck re-routes through your neighborhood. And late nights at the pool leave you too sleepy to hit your early morning workouts. Before you know it, your healthy school-year routines have gone out the window!
In this post, I’ll share some tips for returning to your healthy daily routines so that you can feel healthier and more energized heading into Fall.
Five Tips for Getting Back to Daily Routines
Getting back to a healthy daily routine doesn’t have to feel like a full-time job! Here are a few things to consider as you get back in the swing.
Take Stock in What You’re Doing Well
When it comes to healthy habits, there’s ALWAYS something to celebrate.
Do you drink a glass of water every day? Brush your teeth? Eat a fruit or veggie? AMAZING!
Taking a moment to appreciate what you already do well serves several purposes.
It helps you to know that you already have healthy daily routines, and it will often make you realize that the gap between where you are now and where you want to be isn’t that far apart.
(And, spoiler alert: It gives you a list of daily habits you can piggyback on. More on that in a sec).
So, I’d like you to take five minutes to brainstorm what you already do. These don’t have to be things you do perfectly (I mean, does anyone really brush their teeth for two whole minutes 2-3 times daily 100% of the time?).
If it’s healthy and you do it most of the time, write it down and give yourself a pat on the back.
Take an Honest Look at Your Previous Routines
Your previous routines may have helped you look and feel a certain way, but can you honestly say they served you well?
In a perfect world, your healthy routines should feel pretty low-effort most of the time. In other words, the best healthy habits aren’t those you want to take a break from.
If your previous healthy daily routines felt stressful–like you were always white-knuckling your way through them–this is a great opportunity to explore different paths forward!
You don’t need to start completely from scratch.
Maybe you’re a busy soccer mom who exerted significantly more energy getting home-cooked meals on the table every night than your kid at that two-hour practice. Could you allow your family one or two healthyish takeout options weekly, or lean more heavily on leftovers?
Going back to healthy routines you hate all but guarantees you’ll find yourself falling off the wagon again later.
TL;DR: It’s usually best to pick the healthiest option you can consistently stick with rather than getting burned by perfectionism.
Ease In Slowly
You wouldn’t try to run a marathon on your first day of running after a three-month break, so why would you jump right back into a strict daily routine?
The best way to ensure your routine will stick long-term is to take it nice and slow.
What might this look like?
It might mean eating protein at every meal first if you hope to return to counting macros. Or only drinking alcohol four nights weekly if you’ve been drinking five nights but hope to cut back to two. Or working out for 20 minutes three days a week if you’ve fallen off the workout wagon.
It might be tempting to do more but don’t.
Pick one or two easy upgrades to your current daily routine that you feel at least 80 percent confident you can do every day. Track your progress on a habit tracker, celebrating your wins. And, when these upgrades feel easy, add a new healthy upgrade to the routine.
Try Habit Stacking
Okay, you’ve decided on a healthy habit to help you return to healthy daily routines. But what’s the best way to make sure you DO it?
I’m a big fan of habit stacking.
Habit stacking is a term coined by BJ Fogg, and it refers to the idea of pairing a desired behavior with one you already do every day.
There’s even a nifty formula: After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
That list of things you already do pretty well is a good starting point as you brainstorm current habits you can build on.
For example, you could do 20 squats (new habit) every morning after brushing your teeth (old habit) or take a 10-minute walk outside (new habit) after having your dinner (old habit).
A word of caution: Avoid stacking new habits during more hectic times of the day. Let’s be real–are you actually going to do squats in the morning when you’re always rushing out the door 10 minutes late?
Pick a time of day that’s realistic and get to work!
Determine How Much Accountability You Need
Hopefully, by now, you’re feeling motivated and empowered to ease back into healthy daily routines this fall.
But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe you just need someone in your corner!
I blogged a while back about how to know what types of support systems you need to succeed. I’d encourage you to take the quiz in the post I linked and then brainstorm what people in your life can hold you accountable to your goals.
It might be a workout partner or a romantic partner. It may be a coach or a group program (and FYI–we have one coming up in October!).
Returning to a healthy daily routine may feel daunting, but there’s no reason to go at it alone! With the right support systems, you’ll be back at it in no time.