How I Prevented Falling Back To My Old Habits

falling back

I love the first burst of motivation and the momentum that comes with it.

Unfortunately, that burst of motivation will end sooner or later. This usually means that those who made new years resolutions stop going to the gym and start smoking again.

They thought that the momentum will carry them through thick and thin because for a while it makes you feel like you will be unstoppable for the rest of your life.

It’s the same as thinking “I can stay up all night” at 1am. Another mistake that I’ve made countless of times in the past.

It’s so easy to be deluded though: it has happened to me tens of times and I could never believe that it could end because the feeling was so strong.

Even though the unstoppable feeling will always fade to an extent, there are still ways to hang on to those beneficial habits. Hold on.

Someone asked exactly about this on reddit and I answered it. I’m surprised that after sleeping on it, my answer still looks pretty good so maybe I managed to give some solid advice about the matter.

The question

I’ve been following a good overall life schedule for the past 2 weeks, and everything has been going better than I expected.

every time I am following a routine, if I quit it for 1 DAY I won’t be able to catch up to it.

I woke up feeling really tired. Dragged myself through out breakfast, lunch, messed up my eating schedule, took a long siesta (which I usually never do), and have barely done any work, nor what I was supposed to do for today.

I’m not even feeling like going out for my daily stride outside.

I’ve basically gone back to my old habits, before my new routine.

Do I just try to do whatever I can from the work that I should have done, even if I don’t really feel like it?

I really don’t know what to do. Every time I’ve been in this situation, I’ve lost my past routine, and gone back to slacking off and feeling like shit daily.

And I don’t want that to happen this time. I want to keep things rolling smoothly.

My answer

One reason why you seem to fall back to your old habits is that your new habits are starting to get old. Just like me, you probably had the first burst of motivation at first that made the stuff feel easy and you managed prolong it as long as 2-3 weeks. The first burst of motivation came to you because you did something NEW and FRESH compared to your old life.

I too thought that I’d be rolling like that to the end of my life, enjoying my shit, but things don’t work that way. You’ll have to rise to new level or change the current level. The new level has become your current standard and your mind isn’t satisfied by it anymore. It doesn’t excite you like it used to.

  • Adjust – Don’t set your schedule so that you have to follow it no matter what, for example, when it comes to sleep. If you wake up too tired, adjust your sleeping schedule so that you go to sleep 30 min earlier. If you can’t sleep, adjust again. The adjusting won’t necessarily never end. Usually the waking-up part is the shitty one, so you should probably make a plan for it.
  • Experiment – Yesterdays epiphany is todays gimmick. Experimenting with practically anything, giving a new spin to things that you do, is a great way to freshen up your day and make you more motivated. The easiest way to experiment is to take old technique and put a new spin to it. Do you have a routine for your mornings? When I started having problems with waking up, I started to experiment with different things. I tried planking  on my bed to fresh myself up. When I go to jogging, I take different route every time, sometimes I might run backwards just for the heck of it and guess what? It feels good, new, FRESH. You might get some ideas from these 17 habits.
  • Change something – Your brain hates everything that is old. How would reading old news feel like? It’s the same with a daily schedule that reminds the brain that it has done the same shit over and over again. Your brain craves variation. You don’t necessarily have to change big things, I’ve realized that even small things bring some freshness to my days. Try to do some different things weekly, if you’ve never bought bananas, buy some. Try drinking some tea regularly. Never stagnate with same stuff for too long, change your schedule around for example. Exercise at the morning instead of night etc.
  • Read booooooooooks – You NEED new ideas. New ideas don’t necessarily just pop in your head, so it’s best to look for them from the outside. Without reading, you’ll be spending your life in a ‘bubble’, where you think you know, but simply don’t know what you could know. There could be thousands of books that describe exactly what could help you and if you don’t at first find them, you’ll find something that will DEFINITELY be of use to you and transform your life in one way or another.

And I don’t want that to happen this time. I want to keep things rolling smoothly.

You’ve been deluded by the first burst of motivation that keeps things rolling smoothly for the first few weeks. I’m sorry, but in my experience the reality will always hit to you. It’s the same as you playing a new game and you can’t get enough of it, but after a month or two you will be indifferent to it. If you can’t play the old game, bring up a new one: bring some new freshness to your days – I explained this in the steps before.

But I know, that every time I am following a routine, if I quit it for 1 DAY I won’t be able to catch up to it.

This belief could be about half the reason why you feel like that. Our states fluctuate constantly: even the happiest person has shitty days when it feels that things fall apart and keeping up with whatever habits they have is going to be hard. The most important thing is to stay self-aware at this point: it seems you realize what is happening and it’s good that you ask for help. What’s missing is the determination to push through this obstacle. Even though you probably feel like “not doing it anymore”, you have to take responsibility for whatever you are feeling. That state of not being able to catch up after one day is DEFINITELY possible to change, you’ll have to find out how – the language that you speak “I won’t be able to catch up to it” speaks like it’s some unknown force that’s stopping you. That’s not the case.

Do I just try to do whatever I can from the work that I should have done, even if I don’t really feel like it?

Yes! Know this: Your feelings are bullshitting you constantly: they don’t represent the reality, but your subjective reality that you can affect. You know that feeling when you don’t want to work, but when you start, things will start going smoothly? Your feelings said “DONT WORK”, but when you worked, your feeling said “this is actually pretty cool”. Sometimes it definitely will feel like crap, but that’s how life is. The reason can be anything: your current chemical balance by diet, something else going on in your brain, anything. Things will never keep going smoothly all the time, but how about at least 75% of the time? Absolutely.

I really don’t know what to do.

You have to read books, you’ll get more “know what to do” that way. Not just any books, but books that are relevant to your current situation. When you find something that has some good stuff in it, don’t just mentally masturbate with that stuff, but try them out. As for the books that you should read, I haven’t yet stumbled on something that hits exactly your spot (or can’t remember really). Google gave me this list when I put some words in it, you should try looking for your own.

Every time I’ve been in this situation, I’ve lost my past routine, and gone back to slacking off and feeling like shit daily.

You keep getting what you keep doing. If you do exactly the same things that you’ve done before when you lose the routine, you are going to lose it again. Experiment, try different things, search for information. Starting with reddit is better than nothing and if you are fortunate, someone who has real information can give you a good answer. Most of the time that isn’t the case so, consider this: a lot of books are written by people who really, really know their shit. You should listen to them.

When it comes to feeling lazy, what you are experiencing is completely normal: It’s the natural state for human to want to procrastinate and just lay around saving energy. If you want to get something done, you’ll have to be smarter than that.

My old schedule said that I should have gone read a book and go to sleep an hour ago, but I forgive myself. This doesn’t mean that I start to screw up my daily rhythm, but do things differently especially when I don’t feel like following my old schedule.


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