Motivation Hacks for When Your Routine Isn’t Working Out

Sometimes it’s not easy to get on board with your first “proper” skin care routine.

Life gets in the way: your other priorities demand your attention, you’re too tired from work, and you forget to do steps or you just can’t be bothered. When it feels like you’re working uphill against your life, it can be so difficult to keep going and not give up on your skin care journey.

But no matter your individual roadblock, I’ve developed some ways to overcome them and get back on track.

Here are some of the most common problems I see and my ideas for how to fix them:

Problem: you’re lazy.
Solution: inspo board.

For the last two years I”ve bought a big piece of black card for a few dollars, then printed off a bunch of pictures at home – everything from hairstyles I want one day, to apartments I love, to motivational quotes. On there also is pictures of ‘skinspiration’ to keep me on track with my skin goals. Think aesthetic bathrooms, model-esque skin and expensive products (it’s all very Pinteresty). While I know those pictures aren’t all real, seeing the things I want keeps me motivated to try my hardest and stick to it, and aligns with the Law of Attraction. This idea suggests that the things you keep front of mind will manifest in your life. Whenever I feel lazy, I can be reminded by my inspiration board of how much I want healthy happy skin and that’s the kick up the butt I need to go and do my routine.

Problem: you still don’t wear sunscreen.
Solution: reality check + good products

Skin cancer is no joke. Sun-induced ageing is no joke. Thanks to ~science~, there are sunscreens that feel like nothing on the skin (like Missha Safe Block), so there’s no excuse not to wear sunscreen anymore. Add a high SPF sunscreen to the end of your morning routine – applying it doesn’t even take an extra 30 seconds. Your skin will improve in every possible way, from faded pigmentation to reduced inflammation, and future you will thank you for the extra years out of your skin (and maybe your life). Otherwise, the rest of your routine is a waste of time.

Problem: you forget.
Solution: make it impossible to miss.

If you find yourself just totally blanking on your skin care routine in the chaos of your life, and remembering halfway to work or as you’re already tucked in bed, you need a stark reminder. Make it impossible to forget. Print off your routine and stick it to the bathroom mirror. I’ve designed a printable routine builder which you can use to keep track of all the products and steps in your routine so you can do it half asleep.

Another tip is to make your products easier to see and access to start training yourself to use them automatically. Don’t hide your products away – keep them front and centre. As you know, out of sight = out of mind. Try putting your sunscreen at the front door so you’re prompted to apply each morning as you leave, or leaving body lotion inside the shower and make it a part of your shower routine. I like to leave my lip balm next to my bed so each night when I’m winding down, I see it and without even thinking I pop it on.

Problem: you’re time poor.
Solution: make it work.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. My skin care journey has taken me 10 years so far but it’s been worth it. It’s taught me discipline, goal setting, patience, and self-care. My routine is time I carve out for myself, and it’s non-negotiable. Do whatever you can to make yourself the few minutes. If it means snoozing the alarm one less time, or putting your kids to bed 15 minutes earlier, or locking the bathroom door and just getting it done whenever you can squeeze it in, make it happen. You only get one body and you have the right to feel like you’re giving it care and attention.

Still finding it difficult to even steal a few minutes? Having a shorter routine and less products uses less time and also mental energy. Cutting out decision steps will offer an improvement in your ability to focus on the steps and get them done before you have to rush out the door. A perfect example would be a quick wipe with micellar water, a moisturising anti-ageing serum, and sunscreen. Done in 2 minutes.

Problem: you don’t see the point/nothing works.
Solution: new attitude + evidence.

If you’re one of those people who are just not convinced their routine is worth it, start taking progress photos. Take them every day – when you’re skin’s looking extra bad, when it’s good, and when it’s just normal. You’ll start to see the pattern and, hopefully, the day-by-day improvements. Without realising it you’ll look back and think “wow, I’ve really come a longer way than I thought”.

Obviously seeing results from something like retinol or sunscreen that fights ageing takes time. It’s more of what you don’t see than what you do see. Celebrate each day you wake up and your skin has stayed the same!

Problem: you’re too impatient.
Solution: don’t pay attention.

Just fed up waiting? Tired of the bad skin days? If you’re the kind of person who wants to see results, like, yesterday, then skin care is going to be a challenge for you. But it’s definitely still possible. The answer is not to rush ahead into using lots of strong actives and constantly switching products.

Try to put your progress out of your mind. Enjoy the process of using your products and taking a minute to relax. Do your routine without thinking about the results or taking a close look at your skin. Some people even suggest going so far as to cover up the mirror. Again, take progress photos and make the decision to check back in 3 months and see where you’re at. We don’t notice small improvements over time, but consistency and dedication will get you closer to where you want to be.

Problem: your skin is getting worse.
Solution: seek professional help.

If you’re sticking to your routine, and have given it time and patience, but your skin is still just really awful and really not responding to anything you do, or even getting worse, then it’s probably time to head to the dermatologist and get evaluated for a more severe skin condition.

Essie