Q: How do I maintain a consistent routine? I’ll start a habit, for instance, working out a specific amount of time before work. I’ll get excited about it, get new gear (shoes, outfits), and will be passionate about it for a few months. Then, one day, I completely lose all interest. I’ve done this with countless hobbies, lifestyle changes, self-care … it’s frustrating to lack the ability to maintain something long term.
Routines and habits are hard to establish – we with ADHD will sometimes get sick of them and come up with excuses when we no longer feel excited or when things get hard. To be consistent with things, I have to be committed and willing to work through my own resistance.
For example, I spent years creating an exercise routine. A few key things I did:
- Sought outside accountability (another person)
- Chose a specific time and place to exercise
- Set a time limit on the exercise
After many weeks of working out at the same time each week, I had no problem remembering my appointment. I also couldn’t make any excuses because I knew I had paid for the trainer and she was waiting for me. If I was feeling grouchy about my workout, I was honest about it and we’d change it up somehow. We might go outside or I’d invite a friend to work out with us.
We never worked out for more than an hour, so even if I didn’t want to do it, I knew it was short AND I always felt better afterward. I tweaked the system but I kept going. I needed to prove to myself I could do it for one year.
I guess my point is this – no routine can stay exactly the same forever, even if you love it at first. The trick isn’t so much being able to discipline yourself, or “stick to it,” it’s more about finding ways to tweak the activity so you get excited again, and find some external support.
Hope this helps!