The process of building a skin care routine for the first time, with all the new rules and techniques you need to learn and products you need to choose from, can be overwhelming.
What’s even harder is when you think you have it all figured out, only to realise that actually sticking to your plan day-in and day-out is the bigger challenge.
Losing sight of your goals and letting your multiple-step routine fall by the wayside when you’re tired and stressed is just human nature. But with the right approach, you can build better habits that support your new routine no matter what you’re going through at a given time.
New year’s resolutions are the classic example of deliberate habit-making, but we also inadvertently make many more throughout our lives. Habits free up energy for our brains to use thinking about other things while we’re doing routine tasks. With the proper preparation of cues and rewards, you can ingrain any habit – skin care included – into your life in a way that’s impossible to forget.
Here are my tips for sticking to your new skin care routine.
Use a visual guide
Having something in front of you that shows you step by step what you should do not only keeps you on track with a physical reminder of your process, but it will help to motivate you to stick to it and keep you accountable. I’ve designed a downloadable routine outline which you can find here, so grab that, fill it in and stick it to your bathroom mirror! I find it really helps on those days when your brain is just fried, and you’ll be able to look up and see what you’re supposed to be using when.
Link your routine to another activity in the day
It’s easy to forget to even do a new routine at all when it isn’t a part of your pre-existing habits. So try to insert your routine somewhere solid in your morning and evening – like right after you brush your teeth, or while the coffee pot boils. This way you can leverage old habits and start to ingrain the new habit into your schedule, and soon you won’t even have to think about it!
Leave yourself reminders
If – despite your best efforts -you regularly forget to do your routine, leave yourself sticky notes in the bathroom with encouraging phrases. I suggest a note on the inside of the bathroom door, so if you go to leave without doing your routine, you’ll be prompted to turn back around and do it!
Strategically display your products
Learn to make your routine as easy as possible for yourself. For example, if you catch yourself leaving the house without sunscreen because you were waiting for your moisturiser to sink in and got distracted, start leaving the bottle near the front door. On your way out, you’ll be reminded to put it on and won’t even have to go out of your way to do it! The easier you make things for yourself, the better your chances of using your new products will be.
The promise of blemish-free skin in a few months, or being wrinkle-less in 50 years – while alluring – is not the most motivating thought when it’s freezing and dark and it comes time to drag yourself out of bed to wash your face in the morning. Try to hold yourself accountable with a calendar marking the days you successfully complete your routine. At the end of a week or a month of consistent effort, reward yourself with a new product, a game you’ve been wanting, or just a day off skin care! Whatever will motivate you and make it fun.
Remember the real goal
Motivation on a larger scale is what will drive your desire to make and improve your habits. Though achieving flawless skin is what draws a lot of people to skin care in the first place, it’s important to remember the ample health benefits and mental benefits that skin care offers. It’s our largest organ and its essential that we are strict with ourselves to keep it and ourselves as clean, nourished and happy as possible for our health’s sake.
Once you’ve started don’t lose that momentum! Keep reading and learning and experimenting.