How to Establish New Roommate Routines in the New Year

By Aidan Cannon

The new year is upon us! Many people take this time of year to open themselves up to new opportunities and experiences, or try to make a change in their lifestyle to establish healthier habits. If they repeat these new habits consciously over and over again, they will soon become second nature and another part of their normal routine. Of course, creating new routines is easier said than done, as you need to train your mind and body to get used to a new method of performing tasks. While it can be difficult enough for one person, it gets even more complicated when a roommate, or roommates, get thrown into the mix. Trying to create new ways of doing things in an apartment can be difficult if all parties aren’t on the same page. If you want to establish new routines for you and your roommates this year, this is how you do it.

Roommate Tips: How to Establish New Roommate Routines in the New Year
Image from Pixabay

Talk about what you want to improve

The first thing you and your roommates should do is sit down and honestly discuss what you would like to change. These conversations can often be uncomfortable, as you don’t want to single anybody out for certain issues affecting the rest of you, but it’s important to be forthcoming with your concerns if you want any real change to be enacted. Talk about what needs to change and share actionable steps to achieve these goals. If you can’t think of any actionable steps, brainstorm with your roommates to find solutions. As important as it is to speak and share your ideas, it’s equally important to be an active listener. Your roommates may share that you have been doing something that has been bothering them. Instead of taking offense, consider how your actions have been making them feel, and offer solutions to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.

Leave notes to remind yourself and others

Establishing new routines can be difficult! It involves retraining your body and mind to operate differently than it has become accustomed to, and that involves a lot of conscious practice. A great way to remind yourself and others of your new routines is to leave notes around the house. These will ensure that you are adhering to the new decisions you made and prevent you from falling back into bad habits. For example, if you and your roommates have an issue with taking the trash out, you can leave a note on your trash can saying when to take it out. It can say what day of the week to dump it, at what capacity level you should dump it, or whose turn it is to take it out. Likewise, if you all struggle with turning out the lights when you leave, a note can be placed on the front door, reminding everyone to check the lights as they exit the apartment. Small reminders like these will help everyone stick to the new routines and help avoid any unpleasantness that comes from in-person confrontation.

Be flexible

Sometimes, life may get in the way of your new routines. The life of a college student is filled with stress, including schoolwork, jobs, and interpersonal relationships. If it becomes clear that you or your roommates won’t be able to stick to certain parts of your new routines. feel free to adjust them to be more accommodating. Oftentimes, people have a very rigid idea of what success looks like when it comes to forming new habits, where they must stick firm to what they originally laid out and any deviation is tantamount to failure. In reality, this is not the case, and it’s more important that you practice mindfulness and adjust your goals to be more achievable than sticking to your original plan. In essence, it’s better to find a way to continue your routine less strenuously than it is to give it up entirely. For example, if you and your roommates had committed to an every-other-day gym schedule, but that becomes untenable due to other factors, decide on a new less regular schedule so you can all continue to go together.

Plan a reward for yourselves

Since sticking to new routines can be challenging, you should plan a reward for yourself and your roommates if you all can keep to them. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, but it’s a great feeling knowing you’re being recognized for your efforts. Consider planning a fun activity or night out if all of you commit to the new routine for a set amount of time, like a month. This will help motivate everyone to stick to the routine and encourage them to come up with other ideas in the future.

The new year provides a great opportunity for you and your roommates to establish new routines, but sticking with them is another matter entirely. Luckily, with smart planning and open communication, you can turn your new routines into lifelong habits.

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