November 2, 2022

How to Make Good Progress Consistently (Without Missing a Day)

I'm on a dip.

That's what my husband and I tell each other when we're on our down days. Those days when motivation doesn't want to show up, when you're functioning at about 30%, and you have only your willpower to get through your to-do list.

We see motivation this way:

Flaky and unreliable. Some days you're energy is at 90%, and some days you're at 20%. If we rely on motivation alone, then our results each day will follow the same trend.

On down days, you might not get anything done. You lost 24 hours without moving forward. An inch of progress would have been loads better.

So, how do you protect your progress and get good results even when you're on a dip? Routines.

Routines help us during our dips. Even when motivation is low, the actions (and results) don't go down as much.

The routines we follow become automatic. They're just something we do everyday. We don't even have to think about them anymore, and we don't have to exert so much willpower to finish them.

For example, I've been exercising for at least 45 minutes everyday for 24 days now. This is the most consistent I've been, counting the total calories burned daily as well.

Earlier today, I was surprised at how little willpower I needed to complete my exercise goal. In fact, I didn't need any to get me to start. It was automatic. After changing into workout clothes, I went out to the garden, opened the Workout app on my watch, chose a goal, and started my initial stretches.

Showing up and doing the routine was easy. I only needed to exert willpower during the weighted squats when my thighs were screaming.

And... I've been on a dip since yesterday.

If I didn't have a routine (and with the help of an accountability group), I probably wouldn't even think of changing into workout clothes. Exercise would not have crossed my mind.

The dip always comes. The goal is to have routines in place to sustain us during those down times and to minimize its effects on our progress.

Daily output could look something like this:

(This is only to illustrate my point, and does not aim to show exact data. 😁)

With routines in place, you can sustain a higher standard of output through the days, weeks, and months. Results may go down a bit during a dip, but there won't be a nosedive. You'd still make good progress.