Routine or motivation? Which helps you establish regular cooking?

“To Do Blackboard Shows Agenda And List Of Tasks” by Stuart Miles
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“To Do Blackboard Shows Agenda And List Of Tasks” courtesy of and Stuart Miles

Routine or motivation?

Which helps you establish regular cooking?

Right now I’m having an internal struggle. I just don’t feel motivated to write this post, but at the same time I really want to do it. I want to be able to help you improve your cooking, but I haven’t set up a great routine to write this week, so its effecting my motivation.

Routines and motivation are therefore explicitly linked.

Did you know that you’re going to be more successful at any venture when you have routines set up? Motivation is great and all, but it doesn’t really come when we need it to. Let me explain.



We all think that motivation comes before we can start something new. And sometimes this happens, but if it does, the motivation doesn’t stick around long. Take me for instance, I was determined to start doing 20 minute walks over the holiday period. My motivation was high at the beginning so I did an entire week of walking each day. Then my motivation waned and here I am almost at the end of the second week and I haven’t done a morning walk in about 5 days.

My motivation disappeared because I started to find my interest waning. I really, really want to walk, but my whole being just isn’t into it yet.

And that’s what I’m sure you’re feeling as being someone new to regular cooking. It seems like such a great idea at the beginning of the year to make a healthy eating resolution, but motivation isn’t going to get you there. (Besides, resolutions won’t help, you need to make real goals. Read the New Year, New You post to see how to set proper goals that lead to action). You can want and wish as much as you like but in the end its not going to work.

Don’t let me discourage you though, because there is another answer.



While motivation is fickle, routines are not. Routines are the actual action steps that lead you to success.

Do you want to know why?

Routines are the habitual things we do, so being habitual means we don’t even think about what we’re doing any more. That means that if you can make a new routine and do it again and again then you’re going to get to a point in time where you don’t even think about it and just do it.

I’ll give you another example from my life. I make a weekly meal plan so when I come home from work each night I just check the meal plan and then start cooking. This routine has allowed me to take away all the stress and hassle about cooking. I don’t have to think about what I’ll cook or when. If its on the meal plan then all the ingredients are purchased and ready for me to cook them (because I do my grocery shopping after I meal plan). For instance, I have no idea what’s on the meal plan for tonight, but I do know that I will be cooking dinner for myself and my husband because that’s just what I do almost every day – it’s my routine.


Cooking Routine Examples

You’ll need to sit down and figure out what kind of routines you will make. To give you some help getting started I’ve listed some of my routines below that you can copy or adapt. All of these are routines I currently follow in my kitchen and they have freed up a lot of time for me to do other things. And there’s no motivation involved either. 🙂

Routine 1 – Meal planning each Sunday night

Routine 2 – Make a grocery list each Sunday after the meal plan is created.

Routine 3 – Grocery shopping at the beginning of the week using the grocery list I made on Sunday.

Routine 4 – Check the meal plan when I get home from work.

Routine 5 – Chop fruits and vegetables prepared for the week ahead.

Routine 6 – Grabbing all the ingredients from the fridge/pantry when I start my cooking session.

Routine 7 – Grabbing all the pots, pans and utensils I need before I start cooking, and preheating them.

Routine 8 – Cleaning away the food scraps as I make them – i.e. when I peel a carrot the scraps go in the bin straight away.

Routine 9 – Cleaning up spills as I make them – i.e. if I drop rice on the floor or egg on the bench I wipe it up before I do anything else.

Routine 10 – Tasting my food before I serve it so I can adjust the flavours and the seasoning.

Routine 11 – Cleaning up my meal, plates and utensils as soon as dinner is over.

Routine 12 – Washing any pots and pans that don’t go in the dishwasher.

Routine 13 – Taking the rubbish and recycling out with me when I leave for work the next morning.

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I developed a routine to help me clean as I go. It reduced the time it takes me to clean up at the end of the meal.

One vs many routines

As you can see my routine to cook is not just one giant routine – its actually many smaller routines. This approach to splitting a bigger task into smaller tasks decreases the amount of stress you’ll have in the kitchen. It also saves me time by having many routines because I can do each one quickly and efficiently. Once you start doing them one after the other then your overall time in the kitchen decreases.

Granted, it will feel like you’re taking on a lot at the beginning, but as you get better you’ll get the time back. It now only takes me 1hr to prep, cook, eat and clean up from dinner whereas it used to take me about 3hrs when I didn’t have any routines in place.


So, instead of clinging to motivation to make your cooking goals come true, start making routines a part of your life. The stable nature of routines are what will really lead you to success. And if cooking healthy meals for yourself or your family is as important to you as you think it is, then you’ll start making the necessary changes.

Our health is more important than anything else, so lets make 2017 the time we finally get it under control. And don’t worry, I’m right here to back you up!


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