Words By Tara Wagner

Can’t Maintain Your Morning Routines or Healthy Habits? DO THIS ASAP.

Tara sitting on white bed writing in journal

Right around this time of year is when all of those healthy habits, morning routines, and all of the things that we created to help us reach our goals, start to get really difficult.

I want to talk about why that’s the case and why we can’t seem to maintain these things that we created. Especially when we’re so excited for them, and then the very, very simple solution to solve that problem.

Watch here or read below.

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If you have ever set up your routines (your morning routine, your healthy habits, whatever it was to help you to create success in your life, the things that you knew were going to help you to succeed) and within a couple of days or weeks everything seemed to fall apart (despite the fact that you were excited, despite the fact that these were things that you really needed and are ready for, and despite the fact that you thought you’d planned it all out and you were sure that this time you were going to be able to maintain these things)… let’s talk about what you need to do make sure you stick with them next time.

Woman laying in bed covering her face with white printed comforter
Why we struggle to maintain

There is a super simple reason that this happens and it’s happening mainly because we plan things based around our ideals and not the reality of what’s actually happening in our life.

In fact, think over the last 90 days or so.

  • Over the last 90 days, how many of your days matched your ideal (what you had planned or hoped for)?
  • How many days did it actually go according to that plan and how many days did it not?

Most of us will have maybe 1 or 2 ideal days a week, but most of us will not have that on a regular basis.

We plan for our ideal day because we don’t think that we can plan for the unforeseeable circumstances that come up, but when you really think about it, you can.

You may not know exactly what’s going to happen, but just based on past behavior, past experiences, you can have a pretty good idea of most things that are going to happen. For instance, you might not think that you’re going to have a health emergency in the next two months, but we can know over the span of our lifetime we’re going to have times when we’re sick. We’re going to have times when there is an emergency. We’re going to have times when we just don’t feel well.

It’s sort of like if you’re habitually late because of traffic. You can know that traffic is going to be pretty likely on certain days or certain times of day and therefore you can plan for it. The same is what’s happening when we’re talking about our healthy routines or our healthy habits.

We need to actually understand that there are going to be times when the ideal is not possible. In fact, most times the ideal is not going to be possible. That doesn’t mean to throw the plans out altogether. It simply means to adjust for those non-ideal situations.

This is talked a lot about in the book Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. I highly recommend this book to really understand why it’s so hard for us to make the changes that we want to make or do the healthy things that we want to do.

I highly recommend this book to really understand why it’s so hard for us to make the changes that we want to make or do the healthy things that we want to do.

The Planner vs. Doer

In Triggers, Goldsmith talks about the Planner and the Doer and what I really took away from this is my Planner has all of these ideals and my Doer has to face the reality of actually making things happen, and the two of those don’t often communicate with each other.

The Planner looks at the ideal situation, the ideal environment, the ideal mood, the ideal energy level, the ideal circumstances, and makes the plan according to that, saying, “Because I want it, that’s enough to make me actually maintain it.” Whereas the Doer has to face those circumstances with maybe not a lot of motivation, not a lot of energy, having a really bad day, feeling terrible, and then has to try to execute a plan that’s just not realistic.

I’ve been through this myself just in the past few months. Last year, I hit a really good stride of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, spending 3-4 hours on self care, on personal, physical, emotional, mental wellbeing and feeling really good, gaining the momentum from those circumstances.

But when other circumstances changed, when I had a health flare up, when we were moving, or when we were doing other things, it got much more difficult to maintain that same routine.

Being the classic overachiever, it’s very easy for me to beat myself up when that happens. I’ll think that I should be able to maintain the thing that I set out to do without realizing that my Doer is different than my Planner and my Planner didn’t foresee all the different things that were coming up.

Thankfully, right around this time, I was reading that Triggers book and it really drove home the importance of planning differently.


My solution to you is if you’re struggling with this – if you have an ideal morning routine, ideal healthy habits that you know will help you reach the success you want to reach – I want you to actually recreate your plan according to what your Doer can do.

Now, here’s how I did this…

When we were moving, I had a slightly different morning routine that I planned out in advance. When we were actually on the road driving the U-Haul, I (again) had a slightly different morning routine, or habits that I wanted to maintain. As we were remodeling the house, or going through the holidays, it created the opportunity to sit down and re-plan and reorganize the habits that were going to see me through that season of life. Whether that season of life was 4 or 5 days on the road or 4 or 5 months in the transition of moving or whatever it might be, I got to create the plan that was going to actually help me succeed in that time-frame.

It’s all about making plans the doer can or will want to do depending on that day.

For instance, if I have a huge health flare up and I am inflamed, hurting, and have low energy, that’s going to obviously change my motivation and my mindset at the same time. Because I know that that can happen at any time, I can plan for that by looking at:

  • When I’m having a bad day, what does my morning routine get to look like then?
  • When I’m having a bad day, which habits do I give myself grace on?
  • Which ones do I tweak or change and how?
  • Which ones do I make sure that I maintain?
  • What are my minimum viable habits that I want to maintain, no matter what’s going on in my life, in my body, or in my business?

We need different plans for the different days we’re going to have in our life and I want you to consider things like environmental cues or triggers, ease, enjoyment. If you know that once a month you get in a really bad mood and all of your habits go out the window, what habits would you want to do during that time?

Plan, be proactive, and create the routines and the healthy habits for success during that season.

Understanding how your Planner and your Doer do and do not communicate together is huge.

But one other thing that Marshall Goldsmith talks about in the Triggers book is having a coach. Now, this doesn’t have to be a coach like I coach people. It could be a mentor, friend, family member, or anyone that you turn to for accountability that’s going to be able to help you, not just stay on track, but know how to help you stay on track, and get back on track when you’re falling off.

The truth of the matter is: it doesn’t matter how motivated you are when you create this plan, life is going to happen.

Emotions change and motivation is just an emotion. Naturally, it’s going to come and go and if you don’t put in the fail safes ahead of time to help you through those times, the chances that you’re going to have success are naturally going to be lower. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it means there’s something wrong with your plan.

So no matter what you’re working on in 2020, no matter what those healthy habits or those routines are that are going to lead you to success, I really want to encourage you to sit down and create multiple versions of them (level 3, 7, 10 etc.) depending on what you know, based on maybe what you’ve experienced in the past year, and what you know is likely to come up for you again.

You can be successful at this without being perfect at it. It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful.


It’s going to offer you some perspective shifts, as well as a butt load of ideas to help you start filling your cup, even when you are exhausted or you think you don’t have time.

You can grab that by clicking the button below or clicking here to learn more.


What is a healthy habit (mentally, physically, or spiritually) that you are working on that could use some alternative plans to sustain better?

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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate. Click here to learn more.
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