How To Maintain Your Discipline Even When You Lose Your Routine

accountability self-awareness Apr 11, 2024
Stick figure overwhlemed by too much food

I recently had a great call with a client. He was discussing the challenges of traveling for work and staying on routine.

Many people face this, myself included. But there are simple ways to stay disciplined during your travels, both for fun and work.

Whether you struggle with sleep, food, exercise, or something else during your trips, this simple process will help you break the pattern. (For many permanently!)

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What to do? 

Don't get mad at me or yourself, but it's pretty simple. Stop it! 

No, just kidding. Here's what we did to help my client. 

Discovering the root cause of a negative pattern is key to eliminating it. Whether working with my clients or doing this work on myself, we need to get to the core of it. 

Here are three questions to ask yourself. Before I share the questions, this approach works in many areas where our behaviors and mindsets aren't where we want them to be. Just try it.

Okay, the questions. 

1. How do you do the problem? 

  • You're discovering the pattern of behavior here. 
  • Think about this as if someone asks you to describe exactly how you do the problem and map it out for them. Show them the model for this unwanted behavior.

2. How do you not do the problem?

  • When you successfully maintain discipline, even when your routine is broken, how do you do avoid the problem?
  • Once again, act as if someone wants to model your behavior and create a map of how your process works. 

3. When was the first time?

  • Ask yourself, when was the first time this problem occurred. Be patient. Wait a few minutes (literally) to get your answer if it doesn't come quickly.
  • Where were you? Who was there? What were you doing? What did you say to yourself in that experience? 

Back to my client's story, we learned a senior told him he should be on the varsity team as a freshman. Then, he also noticed he could keep up or exceed the performance of guys who were working really hard. This is when an unconscious decision was made: "I don't have to work as hard to get great results." 

Life changes. This pattern doesn't work in the long run. So, how did this play out? 

When routine changes, staying disciplined and getting the same results is more challenging, but he told himself a long time ago he could get the results of high performers with less effort. This is untrue, but the decision created a negative pattern. 

Breaking the Negative Pattern

What's your challenge? Whatever it is, go through the three questions above, and once you discover the first time this problem occurred, there's a final question to ask. 

What is there to learn from this root experience and all other similar experiences from my past?

In other words, you reflect.

Once you have clarity on the lessons to be learned from the root cause of your behavioral pattern, then do the following. 

1. The next time you know your routine will be disrupted, visualize the successful completion of how you did it right (item 2 above). 

2. Allow yourself to FEEL what it's like to stay disciplined even when the routine is broken. Lock that feeling in like you're sealing Tupperware!

These are the steps that I took with my client. They work. This took us just 15 minutes. Your visualizations can take 30-60 seconds. Everyone has time for that! 

Want to discuss your particular situation with me? Set up your call now

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