Breaking the Cycle of Inconsistency: Strategies for Sticking to Your Routine Through Disruptions

Mom Podcaster
by megan dahlman
May 2, 2023

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Are you always struggling to stick with a routine and be consistent, because you always get disrupted and your plans just don’t pan out?  You’re really good at getting started, but never stick with it long enough to see the results that you want. Well, I have a solution for this that you’ve probably never thought about it.

To start this episode, I’m going to play a short audio clip for you because as I was listening to this the other night, it dawned on me that this is a HUGE problem that almost all of us have and she vocalizes it in such a concise way. Listen to this.

“I was reminded this week of how much I love routine. I love to eat and exercise on a schedule. The downside of that is when my schedule is disrupted, I had a day that didn’t go as planned and I didn’t eat on time.”

Ok, can you resonate with that?

It could be your eating routine like Terri was talking about, or it could be your exercise routine, or it could be both.

You like routine, but when your routine is disrupted, you get thrown off and as a result, you’re finding that you can’t stick with something long enough to see the results that you want. So you feel like you’re spinning your wheels at the starting line, always just trying to get a routine going. It feels like you’re stuck in a trap.

I know this makes you feel so frustrated and even disappointed in yourself. You’re consistent with other things in your life, but why this - why is this part of your life so inconsistent? And I know you’ve tried for years… you’ve said to yourself “I’m going to stick with it this time… I’m going to see this through”, but then those disruptions come along again and it’s one more reminder that you’re not as good at this as you thought you could be.

I think it’s wrong that you’re having to be burdened by this so much. Taking care of your body should not be a lifelong battle. And I know you might be in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and this battle has been going on for MANY years now. Instead, it should be natural, easy, and just a part of your life.

But everywhere I look, I see eating methods and exercise routines out there that are rigid, have high exepectations, and have a long list of do’s and dont’s - but it’s easy to overlook that fact because it’s the results you want.

  • You’ll fast or cut out all your carbs or completely eliminate sugar from your diet because you want to feel the way they say doing those things will make you feel.
  • You’ll do cardio 5 days a week or yoga everyday or 30 days of push-ups because you want to feel the way those things are supposed to make you feel.

So you commit to that routine, and then at some point that routine gets disrupted, and then once again, you’re inconsistent and not getting results.

I completely understand this frustration. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re putting effort into something and not getting anywhere.

I have been a personal trainer and have been coaching women now for over 17 years - nearly two decades. And I’ll admit, when I was a young trainer and I still had my spots, I did the same thing. I took the textbook, I designed a workout routine, and then I handed it over and said do this and don’t skip any days.

And inevitably, days would get skipped, the routine wouldn’t go perfectly, and my clients would say to me, “Yes, I’m disappointed in myself but I also am sad that I let you down.” It’s like they knew how much effort I put into creating that thing for them, so they wanted to do it justice, to make me proud, and do it perfectly.

There was even one time where I had a client cancel her appointment with me because she hadn’t done any workouts on her own since our previous training session. And she was too embarrassed and ashamed to even admit that, so she just cancelled.

Maybe you’ve done that, too.

Here’s the plan

Alright, fortunately I’m not that trainer anymore and my goal, my plan is to help you not be inconsistent anymore.

I’m going to teach you how to become more flexible, or elastic, with your routine.

I talk about flexibility a lot when it comes to how you move. Are your muscles flexible, are your joints mobile? You should know now that without appropriate flexibility, things just don’t work well. Your body doesn’t work well.

And the exact same thing applies to your routine and your habits.

Intentionally creating flexibility and elasticity into your routine will provide enough structure and clear boundaries, but it will allow for the wiggle room you need to avoid perfectionism and to overcome inconsistency.

Here’s how to purposefully build flexibility into your routine:

  • First: Know what it even means. With a flexible routine, you have structure and basic ground rules, but you also have the ability to flex appropriately at just the right times without snapping. Not only must your habits flex and give, but they must also quickly return to their original shape.
  • Think of it like an exercise band - a miniband - you can stretch it, you can pull it longer and away from its original shape, there’s resistance there, which is good, that’s all normal. But as soon as you let go, it immediately returns back to its regular size.
  • I think it’s the returning back that most people forget. You experiment with being flexible with your habits, but never return back. You quickly realize things are not going perfectly, and so you just snap.
  • Let’s start with the regular size or regular shape of your routine - these are the ground rules for your basic eating habits and your fitness routine - what you’re doing when you’re not stretched. Your normal. The tried and true principles that you know will always make you feel your best.
  • Nutrition: This could be water, PRO’s, leafy greens, limiting splurges
  • Fitness: This could be 2-3 strength training workouts, some mobility work, daily walks
  • This routine right here MUST be realistic and doable for the long haul, before we add any FLEX to it. (Maybe this is where a lot of the problem starts.)
  • It’s going to look a little different for everyone.
  • Think of this as your Plan A.
  • Now that your routine has taken shape, make it elastic. A few weeks ago, I had Cara Harvey on and she shared her Good, Better, Best strategy. This is kind of like that.
  • You already have your Plan A, you now need a Plan B, Plan C, and a Plan D for when your routine gets disrupted.
  • If you’re disrupted and you can’t do it all, what parts of your routine CAN you still do? Can you still drink your water and eat your PRO’s? Great. Can you still get in a walk today? Great. Flex to that and then bounce back at the next opportunity.
  • Maybe today you’re so disrupted that you can’t do ANY part of your plan. That’s ok, too. Because you can remind yourself in the back of your mind that this is also part of being flexible. Today, you’re just getting stretched all the way out, and tomorrow that tension will ease up and your routine can take its shape again.
  • A few things I need you to remember about making your routine more flexible
  • Flexing does not mean you’re “breaking the rules” or “cheating”. Don’t apply negativity or morality to it.
  • Flexing also does not mean you’re so loose and away from your habits for so long that you take on a new shape. What happens when you take a rubber band and flex it too far and hold it there?
  • Flexing means that you step away, but not too far, and not for too long, and you step right back.

So ultimately, your inconsistency problem is probably a result of having too rigid of routine and so the moment things need to flex, the routine snaps. So you have a good cry, wait a little while, then go out and buy a brand new band and start over.

We’re done with that.

With a more flexible routine and more flexible habits, when your routine is disrupted, you’re not going to get thrown off anymore. It’s all part of the plan. And you’re going to find that you’re finally sticking with something long enough to see the results that you want.

Proof of Transformation

I need to bring the story full circle, because the good news is that Terri, who I shared with you in the beginning, actually does have a flexible routine in place. I cut off her full audio message, but she’s been going through my Jumpstart 30 program which gives you the exact structure you need to get where you want… the eating habits are lined out for you, the exercises I want you to do each day are all follow-along and lined out for you… but the philosophy behind it all is that none of it is meant to be done perfectly. I want you to experience imperfections and to practice flexing and bouncing back. It’s so important for you to know what that feels like.

So she’s doing absolutely great like so many other in Jumpstart 30.


Ok, to wrap up I always like to leave you with one simple action step that you can put into place TODAY. Keep your eyes open for a scenario today when your routine gets disrupted, and you can’t do something as planned. In that moment, I want you to say to yourself, “I’m going to be flexible and bounce right back when I can”. That’s it. That reminder alone is going to prevent you from snapping.

More Resources & Links

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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