As someone who’s tried to do things perfectly for the majority of my life, I’d say I know a thing or two about habits, both good and bad. In the past I’ve tackled procrastination, being too busy to work out, and a negative attitude all by being more mindful of the little things I did throughout each day. But I’ve also fallen short over and over again… Here’s a little of what it takes to develop healthy habits of your own.
Habits are a tricky thing. They aren’t as sexy as their more popular cousins: inspiration and passion. But in many ways, they’re the most important. Still, even the most motivated of people have a hard time reaching their goals because they can’t commit. People want to get in shape, but they can’t make it to the gym. They want to start a business, but have yet to finish their business plan. They want to find true love, but keep falling for Mr. Wrong.
Being more productive or more positive or more fit is the result of committing to healthy habits. Take right now, for instance. I don’t want to be writing. It’s nice outside and I want to go play! But, I know that if I really want to be a writer, then it means committing to my blog. And if I’m going to commit to my blog, then I need to be in the habit of writing even (and especially!) when I don’t want to. That’s what it’s all about.
Our bad habits are so ingrained in us and they’re super strong. It’s easy to slip back into them when our overall objective is out of mind. When forming new habits, you have to almost force yourself to do what feels unnatural or uncomfortable, especially when the going gets tough.
To do this, always remember why your commitment matters to you and just take it one step at a time. If getting in shape is your goal, then you may have to get into the habit of waking up earlier to get to the gym. When your alarm goes off in the morning, your commitment needs to be on your mind. That awareness needs to get you out of bed. And after so many times of getting up early, it’ll soon become just another habit–but a healthier, more fulfilling one.
Anything goal related requires a certain level of believing in yourself. But if confidence is built on previous successes, then how do you get started? Simple! You jump right in by breaking down your objective into bite-sized pieces.
Say last week you didn’t write a single word of your novel. You may be starting to doubt yourself, right? Writing a whole novel is intimidating! But this week, you’ve set your sights on a far less daunting task: writing one paragraph a day. That very first paragraph you complete is instantly a previous success. And with each new paragraph you write, you’re building your confidence. Now you’re thinking: Hey! Maybe I can do this! You’re not letting missed days or bad paragraphs stop you because you’re committed to your goal.
Just do it!
Nothing we want just happens on its own. There is no magic potion or secret formula for making a change. It starts and ends with you. You determine your results because you control your habits. And sometimes it means you have to go it alone, wake up early, stay up later, sit through classes, fix your lunch, say no or say yes.
But push yourself! Developing healthy habits isn’t easy, but it’s clear proof that you’re willing to do what it takes to actually reach your goals. And if being motivated is talking the talk, then committing to healthy habits is walking the walk.
So. How badly do you want it?