Establishing a routine is one of the hardest things to do - trust me, I’m an expert at this. I’ve started so many routines over the years, and I’ve found that some have stuck while others have failed no matter how hard I’ve tried. I started thinking about some of the routines that I have, especially the ones that involve specific products, and I realized that they all had one thing in common, that helped me stick to my routine.
The biggest thing you can do to help your routine is to start a journal and document the process.
I know you’re skeptical but it works. Trust me! Think of it as applying a bit of the scientific method to your life. You’re collecting data and then using it to figure out what works and doesn’t work.
The first time I kept a routine journal…
I transitioned to natural hair in 2008/2009 and I was addicted to hair forums like LHCF, and one of the tips that I read there was to document the products that I was using through my transition and after I big chopped (aka cut all my relaxed hair off). Documenting what your’re using and what works or doesn’t work is key to avoiding the dreaded product junkie status, and helped you narrow down your regimen. Figuring out your regimen is (to me) the Holy Grail of a hair or beauty routine - you’ve figured out what products work for you and you use them consistently.
Through my transition and the first ~18 months of my natural hair journey, I’d faithful note each product and technique that I used, in order, and at the end noted how my hair looked at felt. I’d review my previous entries before the next wash day. Regularly reviewing my journal helped me eliminate the products that didn’t work, and the techniques that didn’t yield good results. Over time, I narrowed my routine down to the products and techniques that yielded great results and took the least amount of time.
Other areas you can use this
Trying to get your skin together? Get a little journal from Target and start documenting your products,and also how your skin looks! Take pics and save them somewhere so you can go back and look at them.
Working on your diet and/or fitness? A journal is perfect for this. You can document your meals and also workouts, plus take your measurements at the start and at regular intervals. Looking back over time to see your progress will help keep you motivated and stay consistent.
Trying to master a new hobby? Documenting techniques you’ve learned, resources to refer to, and other notes will help a lot!
Try it out and see if it works for you…
Some people just aren’t documentation people and that’s ok! Maybe this method won’t work for you. I found it really helpful, but that’s because I’m a data-driver person and the act of writing it down helps me process and retain information. Maybe you need an app instead of a physical journal to note everything. Maybe you’re visual and you need a chart or whiteboard. Find what works for you and adapt it to help you get to your goal.
My newest challenge is to establish a regular yoga routine, so I’ve turned to this method to me stay on track with my yoga practices and figure out how I can incorporate them consistently into my life. I’ll share in the future on how that looks for me.