Building Realistic Habits


The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has scrolled TikTok or Instagram and has come across various videos of daily, morning and nighttime routines by someone who seems to have a very glamorous, aesthetically pleasing, meticulous routine that doesn’t seem to fall short of perfect. The videos feature people who hit the gym every morning/evening, shower and complete a full skincare routine with lavish products, cook three nutritious meals between a highly productive workday and then still have time to wine and dine with their friends and/or family. If this is what your everyday life truly looks like, then don’t get me wrong, I absolutely applaud you. In this digital age, however, we all seem to be keenly aware that people embellish their lives on social media. In my experience, it is easy to fall victim to comparison, longing for this sense of complete togetherness that just doesn’t align with how I function on a day-to-day basis. When I try to force myself to juggle too many things at once in an attempt to ‘have my life together,’ tasks build up, I don’t get enough sleep, some kind of unforeseeable issue ensues and burnout creeps in. Beating myself up over trying to sustain a lifestyle that has proven to be unrealistic for me is a vicious cycle.

Don’t get me wrong, maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires organization and structure. An effective daily routine can help to reduce stress, maintain motivation and keep track of responsibilities. However, it also wasn’t productive for me to bully myself when I didn’t have the energy to go to the gym, do my skincare routine or have as productive of a day as I would have liked. I was able to stop getting so down on myself once I realized that effective routines are not fixed; what is effective for one may not be effective for another. Instead, I have found it helpful to turn my attention to building realistic habits.

To me, a realistic habit is an achievable routine. Some days, certain tasks may require extra effort to get started, but your habits don’t feel overtaxing. These habits are reasonable practices integrated into your lifestyle that make you feel more accomplished and serene in doing them. For example, my daily routine of exercising during the week could be a two-hour session in the gym, a 20-minute walk or anything in between — each still constitutes a sense of togetherness in my life. The trick to building realistic habits is starting small; you don’t need to commit to something you cannot fulfill or, in other words, “bite off more than you can chew.”

This is a gentle reminder to listen to your body and implement structure into your life that best suits your reality. Routines come in ebbs and flows, so it’s okay if your lifestyle doesn’t align with the all-too-perfect lives of individuals on social media — it’s merely a highlight reel between all the busyness and chaos of everyday life.

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