How Long Does it Take to Form a New Routine?


image showing a person following a new routine during the morning

Forming a new routine varies for everyone. It typically takes consistency and dedication. You have to keep doing it until it becomes automatic.

Some say it takes about 21 days, but it could be longer or shorter. It depends on the complexity of the routine and how well you stick to it.

Remember, repetition is key.

You might slip up sometimes, but don’t give up. Keep pushing forward, and eventually, it’ll become second nature.

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Step 1 – Decide on the new routine you want to establish.

Think about what aspect of your life you want to improve or what new habit you want to incorporate. It could be something related to health, productivity, learning, or any other area you want to focus on. For example, you might want to start exercising regularly, meditating daily, or reading more often.

Once you have a general idea of what you want to focus on, get specific. Define exactly what your routine will entail. This includes determining the specific actions you’ll take, when you’ll do them, and how often. For instance, if you want to establish a morning exercise routine, specify the type of exercises you’ll do, the duration of each session, and the time you’ll allocate for it in your morning schedule.

image showing a person doing morning routine stretches
Photo by bruce mars

Consider your current lifestyle and commitments when designing your routine. Make sure it’s realistic and manageable within your existing schedule. If you’re not a morning person, for example, trying to establish a rigorous morning routine might not be sustainable for you. Instead, you might opt for an evening exercise routine or find other ways to incorporate physical activity into your day.

Set clear and achievable goals for your routine. Define what success looks like for you and what you hope to achieve by establishing this new habit. Setting goals gives you something to strive for and helps you stay motivated along the way. Whether it’s running a certain distance, practicing mindfulness for a set amount of time each day, or finishing a book every week, having clear goals keeps you focused and on track.

Lastly, be flexible and open to adjustments as you go along. Your routine might need tweaking as you discover what works best for you and what doesn’t.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and make changes as needed to ensure your routine is effective and sustainable in the long run. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection, so be patient with yourself as you work towards establishing your new routine.

Step 2 – Commit to doing these tasks every day for the next 21 days.

Once you’ve defined your routine, it’s time to make a firm commitment to stick with it. Write down your routine and schedule it into your day. Whether it’s in a planner, on your phone, or on a sticky note, having it written down helps reinforce your commitment and keeps you accountable.

Find ways to integrate your routine into your existing habits or daily rituals. This makes it easier to remember and follow through. For example, if you want to start meditating every morning, you could do it right after brushing your teeth or before having breakfast. By linking your new routine to something you already do regularly, it becomes more ingrained in your daily life.

Stay consistent and dedicated, especially in the initial days of forming your routine. The first few days are crucial in establishing the habit, so make a concerted effort to follow through each day. Remind yourself of the benefits of sticking to your routine and the goals you’ve set for yourself. Visualize the positive outcomes and how achieving them will improve your life.

image showing a calendar collage for reader motivation
Photo by Claudio Schwarz

Finally, be prepared for challenges and setbacks along the way. It’s normal to face obstacles when forming a new habit, but what’s important is how you respond to them. If you miss a day or slip up, don’t dwell on it.

Instead, acknowledge it, learn from it, and refocus on your commitment to your routine. Keep pushing forward, and over time, it will become more natural and effortless.

Step 3 – Track your progress.

Keeping track of your efforts and achievements can help you stay motivated and accountable. Find a method that works for you, whether it’s using a journal, a habit-tracking app, or a simple calendar.

Record each day that you complete your routine.

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This could be as simple as checking off a box or writing a brief note about your experience. Seeing your progress visually can be incredibly rewarding and reinforces your commitment to your routine.

Set up reminders to help you stay on track. Use alarms on your phone, sticky notes, or notifications from your habit-tracking app to prompt you to complete your routine at the designated time. Consistency is key, so make sure you’re sticking to your scheduled times as much as possible.

Celebrate your successes along the way. Recognize and reward yourself for each milestone you achieve. Whether it’s treating yourself to something you enjoy or simply acknowledging your progress, celebrating your accomplishments boosts your morale and encourages you to keep going.

image showing a person celebrating success which came because of following a new routine
Photo by Ryan Moreno

Stay adaptable and open to making adjustments as needed. Your routine might need tweaking as you encounter challenges or as your priorities shift. Be willing to experiment with different approaches and find what works best for you in the long run.

Lastly, be patient and persistent.

Forming a new routine takes time and effort, so don’t expect instant results. Stay committed to your goals, even when it gets tough, and trust that your consistency will pay off in the end. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll eventually establish a new routine that enhances your life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long does it usually take to establish a new routine?

Establishing a new routine can vary for everyone, but it typically takes consistency and dedication over some time.

2. What should I do if I miss a day of my new routine?

If you miss a day, don’t worry too much. Just get back on track the next day and continue with your routine as planned.

3. Can I change my routine if it’s not working for me?

Your routine should be flexible and adaptable to your needs. Feel free to make adjustments as necessary to better suit your lifestyle and goals.

4. How can I stay motivated to stick to my new routine?

One way to stay motivated is by setting clear goals and reminding yourself of the benefits of your routine. Tracking your progress and celebrating your achievements along the way can also help keep you motivated.

5. Is it normal to struggle with forming a new routine?

Yes, it’s completely normal to encounter challenges when forming a new routine. It takes time and effort to establish new habits, so be patient with yourself and keep pushing forward.

6. What if I don’t know where to start with creating a new routine?

Start by identifying an area of your life you want to improve or a new habit you want to incorporate. Then, break it down into smaller, manageable tasks and commit to doing them consistently over time.