Who’s struggling with the transition from a summer “routine” to a healthy back-to-school routine? Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what a 2020 school routine should actually look like. Either way, the back-to-school season is always one of transition. It’s the perfect time to work on conquering some of your chaos with a new habit or routine! But…how do you start? And, how do you hold yourself accountable?
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I understand the chaos that you’re feeling right now. I’ve got two young kids, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I run my own small business. Juggling all of that requires some discipline on my part, but by building routines into my day (and week) I’ve quickly reduced a lot of unnecessary stress from my day. Because I get it – parenting during a pandemic is stressful! We’re looking for any and all ways to reduce stress that we can!
How to decide what habit or routine you need to start with
First, we need to identify what new habit or routine you should start, because we can’t do EVERYTHING at once. You’ll be more successful with a new habit or routine if you build in only 1-2 new things at a time. If you try and tackle EVERYTHING at once, it’s too overwhelming and you’ll probably end up giving up on it all.
So to help you identify where to start, I have a quick exercise for you. I need you to grab a pad of sticky notes, and set aside about 30 minutes sometime this week. It needs to be when you can be ALONE, so that you can focus.
For the first 20 minutes, I want you to start writing down all the things that are currently stressing you out; one thing per sticky note. Put down anything that comes to mind. Just get it all out onto those sticky notes and onto some kind of surface like an empty wall, or the back of a door.
During the last 10 minutes, I want you to start organizing the sticky notes into “like” categories. Maybe some of the things that you’ve written down are out of your control (like a pandemic or hurricane); those all need to be grouped together. Maybe another set of stressors is all school, or work related; those are their own categories. Maybe some of them are health related, like you’re not eating or sleeping well. However it makes sense for you to group them is fine, just get them grouped!
Then, I want you to pick ONE group of sticky notes to focus on, because again, we are not going to tackle all of these problems today. We need to pick one area of our lives to conquer and then we can worry about the others. The great thing about this exercise is that you’ve gotten all of this information written down, so you can come back to the rest of it when you’re ready. And I promise you, just by writing everything down you’ll already start to feel better!
Now it’s time to dissect your group of stressors. What in that group is something you could work on changing RIGHT now? Grab it, and go. Don’t second guess yourself!
And here’s one of your motivating factors. I need you to think about how different your life will be a month from now if you were able to turn this stressor around. What are the benefits of working on this? Don’t you owe it to yourself to find out?
How to hold yourself accountable once you start
It takes AT LEAST 1-2 months for a new habit or routine to become automatic. So this is not something you can try for a week and give up on! We’re going to take baby steps to get you to your goal.
The toughest thing with any new habit or routine is that it’s personal, so we alone are in charge of holding ourselves accountable. So how can you trick yourself into following through? How can you avoid talking yourself out of it?
The best method that I’ve found is a visual representation of your progress. If you haven’t heard of a Habit Tracker, you’re about to be shocked and amazed!
A Habit Tracker is basically a picture that you’re coloring in: so for every day that you follow through on your new habit or routine, you color a section in. At the end of the month, you have a visual representation of your progress!
Having your habit tracker in the right spot also matters. It needs to be in a place where you see it multiple times a day, and can easily access it to fill it out. So think of places like: your fridge, next to the coffee machine, on your nightstand.
Need to get your hands on a Habit Tracker? Head over HERE to snag my free printable!
Another way to remind yourself to follow through is that handy dandy phone alarm! I have alarms set-up on my phone to remind myself of stuff. For example, I have alarms set-up for 5 minutes before Abi’s school zoom calls. That way I remember to drop whatever it is I’m doing and go get her logged in. On an iPhone you can have recurring timers set-up for certain days of the week. So if your habit is a daily thing, then you can make it go off every day of the week at the same time. Is it an every other day thing? You can also set the alarm up that way.
Something else that I want you to do is plan ahead of time how you’ll reward yourself. If you can stay on track for 80% of the month, a B average, (or about 24 days) that’s AMAZING, and you deserve a reward! Maybe it’s a new piece of jewelry, a new book, a new plant…whatever motivates you!
And one last tip for building something into your routine: Alliteration! We all know it’s easier to remember things if they have a fun acronym or there’s some kind of alliteration. For example “Water Your Plants Wednesday”, or “Screen Free Saturday”. Can you come up with some alliteration to help you remember to do something? What about a fun acronym or phrase?
Where you can get more support and guidance
I know that sometimes you need a little extra push, a little extra accountability. This is exactly why I started my premium membership group, the Perennial Mom Squad. In the Perennial Mom Squad I help you reclaim your time and energy with organization techniques and times saving routines. But the best part is that we do it as a squad – TOGETHER.
I’m the squad leader, teaching on various topics like: stabilizing your schedule, how-to meal plan, how to regularly practice self-care, and in a couple of months we’ll be focusing SPECIFICALLY on holiday chaos and organization. PLUS every month I provide members with done-for-you dinner meal plans, new habit trackers, and more.
Membership doors will be opening again at the end of October, so if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, make sure you join the email waitlist to stay on top of all launch information!
So tell me, what habits and routines are you going to be working on!?
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