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Why Can’t I Stick to a Routine? 5 Ways to Stick to a Routine

Aug 10, 2023

Are you frustrated with your inability to stick to a routine? You're not alone. Countless individuals, despite their best intentions, struggle to maintain consistent habits and routines. A survey shows that 56% of Americans were unable to keep their New Year’s resolutions for a whole year. This underscores the challenge of sustaining long-term habits.

Despite our best intentions, we often find ourselves struggling to stick to the habits and activities we set out to incorporate into our daily lives. This lack of consistency can lead to feelings of frustration and self-doubt. If you have been thinking “why can’t I stick to a routine” we have some of the most practical solutions for you. 

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Table of Contents

Why Can’t I Stick to Anything

There can be various reasons why you struggle to stick to anything consistently, such as a lack of intrinsic motivation, setting unclear goals, not finding enjoyment in the activities, or being overwhelmed by the effort required. Let’s explore them further.

  • You're bored with your routine: One of the primary reasons people find it difficult to stick to a routine is that the activities they have chosen are simply not engaging or enjoyable for them. When a routine becomes monotonous and fails to capture our interest, it becomes challenging to maintain the motivation necessary to stick with it.
  • Too difficult or overwhelming to maintain a habit: Another reason you might struggle to stick to a routine is that the habits you are trying to incorporate are too challenging or overwhelming. It is crucial to start small and gradually build upon your routine to increase your chances of success.
  • You lack motivation: Motivation plays a vital role in adhering to a routine. If you lack motivation, it can be incredibly challenging to stay consistent. A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that individuals who lacked intrinsic motivation were less likely to stick to their exercise routines. 
  • Lack of clear goals: Clear goals provide a sense of purpose and serve as a guiding force in decision-making and prioritization. When goals are vague or undefined, it becomes difficult to establish a clear path and sense of direction. 
  • You become discouraged after missing a day or two: Another setback that can often derail individuals from sticking to a routine is missing a day or two of their planned activities. The Journal of Psychological Science published a report claiming individuals who experienced self-criticism or negative emotions after missing a day were more likely to give up on their routines altogether. Building resilience and focusing on getting back on track as soon as possible can help overcome this hurdle.

How to Stick to a Routine When You’re Depressed

When it comes to routines and mental health, especially when dealing with depression, it can be helpful to start with small, achievable habits, incorporate enjoyable activities, and seek support to stay motivated and stick to a routine. Here are some strategies to help you stick to and create daily routines for depression:

1. Set a Tiny Habit

When you're feeling depressed, even the simplest tasks can seem overwhelming. Start by setting a tiny habit that requires minimal effort. For example, commit to making your bed every morning or going for a 5 minute walk. These small wins can provide a sense of accomplishment and gradually build momentum.

2. Do One Thing

On particularly difficult days, it might be challenging to complete your entire routine. Instead, focus on doing at least one activity from your routine each day. This can help you maintain a sense of consistency and prevent feelings of failure or guilt.

3. Have Fun With It

Incorporate activities into your routine that you genuinely enjoy and find uplifting. Engaging in activities that bring you pleasure can help counterbalance the effects of depression and make it easier to stick with your routine. Consider including activities such as listening to music, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy.

4. Choose Habits that Support Each Other

Select habits that reinforce positive emotions and actions. For instance, if exercise is a part of your routine, pair it with listening to uplifting music or podcasts. By creating positive associations with your habits, you are more likely to feel motivated and find it easier to stick to your routine.

5. Create a Habit Plan

Develop a detailed plan for your routine and schedule your activities in advance. Break your routine down into smaller, manageable tasks and allocate specific time slots for each activity. Having a clear plan and structure in place can help provide a sense of direction and make it easier to follow through, even when faced with depressive symptoms.

How to Stick to a Routine with ADHD

Breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps, utilizing productivity apps, taking strategic breaks, and minimizing distractions can help individuals with ADHD stick to a routine. The following sections will explore the ADHD routine and structure and how it can help.

1. Break Tasks into Manageable Steps

Divide larger projects or tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to prevent feeling overwhelmed. By focusing on one step at a time, you can maintain momentum and build a sense of accomplishment. Productivity apps such as Focus Bear’s habit routine can help with that.

Screenshot of the ADHD App: Focus Bear's 'Edit Habit' page, empowering users to personalize and tailor their experience by adding or customizing habits for improved focus and productivity

2. Utilize Productivity Apps

Take advantage of productivity apps specifically designed for individuals with ADHD, such as Focus Bear. These apps offer features like task management, reminders, and time tracking, helping you stay organized, and focused, and even create a routine for ADHD adults.

Screenshot of the ADHD App: Focus Bear's reports, displaying user's activity achievements

3. Incorporate Strategic Breaks

Recognize the importance of taking breaks to recharge and maintain focus. Plan intentional and structured breaks during your routine, leveraging the Focus Bear app's functionality to set reminders for these breaks and ensure they are not prolonged distractions.

Screenshot of the ADHD App: Focus Bear's reminder feature, prompting users to take a break for enhanced productivity and well-being.

4. Minimize Distractions

To create an environment conducive to sticking to your routine, it is crucial to minimize distractions. Productivity apps can help by blocking or limiting access to distracting websites or apps, allowing you to stay on track and maintain focus on your tasks and habits.

Screenshot of the ADHD App: Focus Bear's website blocking feature in action, preventing access to distracting websites for enhanced focus and productivity

Final Thoughts: Why Can’t I Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a routine can be challenging, especially for individuals with ADHD. However, by employing the strategies mentioned, anyone struggling to answer “Why can’t I stick to a routine?” can improve their ability to maintain a routine. 

If you're looking for a reliable productivity solution specifically designed to assist individuals with ADHD, consider trying Focus Bear to enhance your routine and stay on track with your goals and tasks.

Aug 10, 2023

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