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Forming/maintaining routines?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by FutureV1ctorian, Jan 11, 2022.

  1. FutureV1ctorian

    FutureV1ctorian New Member

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    I am a teenaged, self diagnosed, "high functioning" autistic girl. I'm not certain that I have autism, but I do have good reason to believe it.
    I Cannot. Maintain. Routines. I try and I fail and I try again and I fail again. I've had every app out there, paper checklists, journals; the works. Nothing sticks. I can't keep a morning routine, and end up cutting the bus way too close for comfort. I've tried to get healthier and been to the doctor about it twice now. I can't keep a workout routine. I've had 8 or 9 self-made, self-imposed routines over the last three years, and I always throw them out because I look up and I've missed three months of it.

    Does anyone else have this problem?
     
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  2. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My guess is you are simply trying to change too much at once.

    Take one goal: arriving on time for example. Why are you always cutting it close? Do you get caught up in doing one thing like looking at social media? Do you get caught up in deciding what to wear or what to have for breakfast or lunch?
    If you are only giving yourself 1o minutes to complete a task, give yourself more time.
    Also, having a consisent morning routine starts with a consistent bedtime routine. Go to bed at 10, get up at 6, that sort of thing.

    But don't be discouraged. There is a lot of research that show teenagers circadian rythm is out of wack with the rest of the world. You might find it difficult to settled down to routine until your body is ready for it.

    I remember that as a teen I was a real nightowl but I slept very hard every night and would sleep 12 hours straight if I could. Getting school or my job on time was a nightmare. But today I am the most punctual person I know and setting routines is natural.

    Work with your own rythum as much as possible. Keep your goal small and obtainable. Practice that one thing until it comes naturally, then add another small goal to that.
     
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  3. Richelle-H

    Richelle-H Hiding Behind the Magic 8 Ball of Infinity V.I.P Member

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    I am rather hit and miss with routines. Even when I use a marker, a time range and or place, I sometimes forget to do what I am meant to do (like remember to take my meds [hey I'm old, not that I am trying to use that as an excuse ;) ].

    Here is the thing, at least for me, routines have an inherent boredom factor built into them. After a while you can lose focus, you blink and weeks have gone by and it is maybe a little bit fuzzy. Hey, my whole life has been a bit like that. Individual chapters: some that span mere years but others span decades.

    I was horrible with the so called 9 to 5 work ethic {not a morning person}, so I gradually gravitated toward work environments where I could get away with setting my own hours. I hated school, growing up, as it bored me. It maybe was not routine related, more like the frustrating slowness with which everything was taught and the repetitions became like slaps to my amygdala.

    I guess it boils down to this. Set a routine for yourself that only consists of things you like to do, spread out over a day or a week or a month. See if that doesn't make things stick a little. It is all done through association. Eventually it may become a little easier if you use that consistent routine to help ameliorate the routines you do not particularly like or feel necessary.

    Just do not beat yourself up over it. Things change, we all learn from our experiences and move on. Know that you are not alone and you are not damaged, just human.
     
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  4. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Could be the result of executive dysfunction.
     
  5. Forest Cat

    Forest Cat Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I like routines but I do have some problems with it. I can follow routines for weeks or months. And then suddenly one morning everything falls apart and I`m routine-less for some time. It`s an on/off situation. Right now I`m off, my life and my home is lacking routines. But I`m used to it so it`s ok. I`ll go back to routines later.

    Maybe you could try to focus on one thing first, one routine? Like Suzette suggested. If you do too much at once it could be difficult. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
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  6. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome @FutureV1ctorian

    Glad to have you among. Do read some of the older threads in here and see what connects with you, and what you find helpful. There is loads of experience shared in here.
     
  7. Flown

    Flown Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I love routine but I struggle with it often. Have you been assessed for ADHD as well? My therapist wants me eventually to be assessed, and I wouldn't doubt if I have it as well. My husband has ADHD, and we both struggle terribly with executive dysfunction and focus.

    I basically do my best with a combination of the things you listed, but I don't always do it perfectly. Phone alarms paired with a markerboard (dry erase board) has been the best combo for me.

    In terms of keeping a workout routine, I have a question for you. Are you doing things you enjoy or are you just doing things to "be healthy"? I think finding some form of movement that "clicks with you" and makes you happy may be the key to sticking with it!

    I just listened to this podcast a week ago, and I found it really helpful. It busts a lot of the workout myths out there!
    When it comes to exercise, 'all movement counts.' Here are 4 tips to make it a habit
     
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  8. Flown

    Flown Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I really relate to this and like your gentle approach to this problem!
     
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  9. Forest Cat

    Forest Cat Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It took a little time to learn that approach. It used to stress me out but after doing it for years I eventually realized something, it`s much easier to go with the flow than to fight it. So right now I`m a little all over the place with no routines and that`s ok, it will change later, I can have routines again later.
     
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  10. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    For me routines have to flow naturally. For example, I could never remember to take my vitamins (simple thing) even though I tried to make a "routine" of it. But then I moved them to the bathroom, and take them as part of my morning "getting ready" routine. I wouldn't remember when they were in the kitchen, because I'd take them with my morning coffee but I wouldn't always drink coffee and then I'd forget. But I always brush my teeth and wash my face. So I tie any new thing to something I consistently do, then I remember.

    Suzette's advice is spot on, by the way. Don't take on too much at once!
     
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  11. Gerontius

    Gerontius Well-Known Member

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    Hello, neighbor, & welcome to the best forum on line.

    The trouble with routine is that a lot of times when people say "autistic people have routines" the scientist draws no distinction between lining up stuffed animals on a bed, and absolutely crushing it in a middle management position. This is no fault of Science but of Interpretation.

    I get dressed always the same way. Right now it's winter: 19th-c wool army trousers, undershirt, white button-down shirt, waistcoat or sweater, and a wool jacket. I always wear the same kind of black wool socks and always wear a hat when I go out. This is a Routine. HOWEVER--My tendency to sleep with most of my clothes on isn't routine; it looks a little bit chaotic. There is no Routine involved here. Cooking is even more complicated.

    You sound like me when I was growing up. I still have bad problems with executive function.
     
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  12. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The first thing I thought of was a good personnal robot. Wake you up, keep schedules, etc.

    best-movie-robots-header.jpg

    Something like 3CP0 would be perfect. Unfortunately we are not there yet. What we do have is this thing. It's a Hexapod. A bit frightening, but there is nothing to worry about. It too can come and get you and take you where you need to go, make you run, etc.

    SH-98_2-BIG.jpg

    Let technology do the work I say. So you have more time for the important things in life. Like ordering Pizza.

    ;)
     
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  13. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    For many of us, it's the opposite. We have a rock hard, steel fortified, bunker protected routine and there ain't no changin' it, even if it leads to death. Can't be explained or reasoned or threatened away......hardwired. Any others?
     
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  14. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Welcome.


    :)

    I have certain routines that may be odd but they’re what I do.
    I find it difficult to adjust them & I have tried. That is a long story which is best left out for now.

    When they’re disrupted for whatever reason (travel, for ex.) I have a reaction, ranging from mild stress to, for ex., “I need to & I will find a cup of tea if it’s the last thing I do.”

    When other people think they’re going to help or in some other way mess with my routines, well… o_O don’t.
     
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  15. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As a formally retired person my life has come down to mostly a series of routines. I find it comforting more often than not.

    Allows me to orient myself after waking up as someone who has never appreciated being a "morning person". :p
     
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  16. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @Suzette is correct that working on one thing at a time is often the better approach. There is a saying, "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time." I think you can use this advice for most large goals in life. "How do you loose 50lbs?" "One pound at a time." So it is with developing new routines and habits. Keep in mind it can take quite a bit of time to develop a new habit or routine,...sometimes several months. So Suzette's advice is valid here. Focus on one thing for now. How Long Does It Actually Take to Form A New Habit?
     
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  17. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Everything is harder when you're a teenager.
     
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  18. Maximillian

    Maximillian New Member

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    Yeah, I don't like to follow routines that much either. I don't do the things I have to do in a certain order, and I don't like to pick specific times. I do things when I feel like it.

    You could say I struggle with routines because even when I tell myself I'm going to do this thing by that time, I don't. I normally pace up and down and I get so sucked into it that I postpone that thing until later. I don't know if that counts, but it happens to me.

    I'm your age by the way. Do you live in London? I'm hoping I can find someone who is just like me who isn't far from me. Hope you have a good time on the forum