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How many times have you sworn to yourself that you’d only scroll Instagram for an hour per day? How about journal every night? Or the best one: Wake up at 5 a.m. to meditate each morning? Too many to count? Yeah, same. Instead of continuing to remake these promises to yourself, take a line or two from these pros. Ahead, we’re dissecting the habits of people who are actually successful at sticking to a routine, in the hopes that their self-motivation might rub off on you.

woman stretching before run
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They Don’t Rely on Instant Gratification

Sure, waking up at 5 a.m. to go for a run when you’re making a plan to get in shape sounds great in theory. Then your alarm rings and it’s so cold and your bed is so comfy...and before you know what you’re doing, you’re snoozing for another half hour. People who stick to their routines know that it’s always going to be tough to get started, but they don’t let it derail their plans. Instead, they think about how amazing they’ll feel after that five-mile run (and how satisfied they’ll be when they’ve crossed the finish line at their first marathon next summer).

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They Aren’t Afraid to Say No

Sometimes the resistance about creating a new plan to eat better doesn’t come from you—it comes from your well-meaning friends and family. The key to avoiding it? Be prepared and know exactly how you’ll react if you start to feel derailed. Practice saying no in advance, and stash a 5.5-ounce can of V8 in your bag so you won’t be tempted to stray from your plan. One little can has one full serving of veggies (with no added sugar) and is a great source of antioxidants. 

woman writing on notepad
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They Write It Down

Setting a new goal and sticking to a routine is easier said than done, even for the most type-A dedicated people. (Just think about all those New Year’s resolutions you’ve broken over the years.) A great way to make sure the new habit sticks is to get it into your subconscious, says Diana Raab, Ph.D. She suggests writing down each of your goals (or “intentions,” as she calls them) over and over until the new habit is ingrained into your mind.

man holding takeout containers
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They Outsource to Set Themselves Up For Success

OK, let’s say you’re 50 pages into writing the next Great American Novel, but it’s also a really busy time at work. Like everyone else, you only have 24 hours in a day, and many of those hours are taken up by cooking, commuting, doing chores and sleeping. And you probably don’t have personal staff to handle the less-than-fun tasks. So do the next best thing and outsource everything you can. Order takeout, hire a TaskRabbit to scrub your tub, and take the bus so you can write on your way to and from work. Sure, eventually you’ll have to vacuum again, but sometimes you need a little extra help to stay motivated and productive through a busy time.

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