Kristi Thompson looks forward to waking up for her 6 a.m. Hustle class each morning in Cary, NC. If you told her seven months ago that she would have the energy and the drive to wake up at the crack of dawn every single weekday, workout for an hour, get her three-year-old daughter off to day care and herself ready for work by 8:30 a.m., she would have laughed at you.
Why? Because seven months ago, Kristi didn’t have a routine.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I just need to get in a routine,” but the routine never actually STICKS?
Oh, good, me too.
Let me break this down for you – “getting in” a routine and “sticking to” a routine are two different things.
Getting in a routine is relatively easy. Maybe you’ve had this conversation with yourself while “getting in” a routine: I’m going to start going to the gym every day after work (unless I have to work late, or there’s a happy hour I want to attend, or something else comes up) OR I’m going to run three to four times a week, starting Monday, but if I wake up Monday and I’m too tired, then I’ll start Tuesday. So, then you work out a few days after work. Maybe for a week you get up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to run. But then you hit roadblocks. As soon as you work one or two late nights in a row, sleep in one or two mornings when you’re too tired to run—your routine is toast.
That’s because you need more than just an idea of a routine. You need a plan, with someone or something holding you accountable, with others supporting your goals and helping you get around the roadblocks.
Sticking to a routine takes a little more work and planning on the front end. But if executed properly, you won’t find yourself saying, “I just need to get in a routine,” because you’ll still be in it!!
Four steps to finding a routine and sticking with it:
Pick a time of day
Find a motivator
Eliminate the obstacles
Get people in your corner
Take Kristi, for example. Kristi is a worker’s compensation lawyer and used to exercise fairly regularly before she gave birth to her daughter in 2014. Once Kristi had her daughter, she stopped working out completely, for two and a half years. Just before she sat for the Worker’s Compensation Specialization exam last fall, Kristi felt nerves and adrenaline pumping through her body. She decided to try the new gym down the street from her house called Hustle Fitness Studio. That’s how Kristi met Amanda—her day one, and an instructor at Hustle. Amanda’s energetic, encouraging attitude toward fitness and health inspired Kristi to keep coming back. But in order to make it work, Kristi needed a routine.
She realized that early morning was the only time of day she could consistently workout. Kristi committed to mornings.
The morning class at Hustle is full of motivating people. Kristi says that if she misses a class, someone texts asking “are you okay?!” For Kristi, both Hustle and the people who attend Hustle are her motivators.
Kristi accomplishes a lot before 8:30 every morning. But she had to eliminate the obstacles. Her gym is only a mile from her home, so she can finish her workout and quickly get home to her daughter who wakes up 7 a.m.
The last big step is to get people in your corner. Kristi’s husband stays at home in the mornings while she works out. Kristi gets their daughter ready when she returns from the gym, and her husband takes her to day care while Kristi gets ready for work. Kristi also decided to approach her boss about her new workout schedule. She wanted him to know her new fitness goals and make sure it was okay to show up at 8:30 every morning. Her boss, extremely encouraging, acknowledged how important fitness and health is to her overall being and ultimately, her success as a lawyer. Get people in your corner who will support your goals.
Guess what? Kristi’s routine STUCK! Seven months into the game, Kristi goes to Hustle every single day of the week. She also just ran and CRUSHED her first 10K. First place for the women! Her brother (pictured with her below) ran and crushed his first half!
That’s how it’s done, folks.
STEP 1: Pick a time of day
I personally covet the mornings. If you want to “cheat the day,” go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. Knock out your workout before the sun rises. The first week or so might be tough, but your body will adjust. You may even find you love the mornings! If mornings don’t work, commit to lunch time or afternoons. But find the best time that works for you and stick to it.
STEP 2: Find a motivator
I have several motivators. Sallie, my workout buddy, is a huge motivator. When I know she’s counting on me to join her in the morning, I have a reason not to hit snooze. Teaching boot camp is a motivator—I not only have to show up, but be roaring to go. Also, signing up for a race (5K, 10K, half, or full) motivates me to wake up, lace up and hit the streets before the sun rises.
STEP 3: Eliminate the obstacles
I have 10 minutes to get ready in the morning, so I lay out my clothes the night before. My shoes live by the door. My water bottle is ready to go. If you need to eat something before you work out, set it on the counter before bed. If you work out in the afternoon, pack your clothes and a snack so you’re ready to go immediately after work. No excuses.
STEP 4: Get people in your corner
Whether it’s your husband, wife, boss, friend, cousin, neighbor—you need people who love you and encourage you to chase down your goals. Find them. Talk to them about what you’re doing. Ask them to have your back, because there will be days when you work late or you don’t wake up in time. But it’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t give up if you miss one or two days in a row. These people in your corner are there to say, “wake up tomorrow and start again.”
Bottom line—you can do this. Make a plan, set a goal >>>>> chase it down.
See you out there.
*Cover photo by Kyle Aiton Photography