HOW TO KEEP NEW ROUTINES EVEN WHEN THEY’RE HARD
If you subtract your positive behaviors from your negative habits, you should be able to get a very accurate picture of your overall value to the outside world.~Benjamin Franklin
It’s likely that you agree with what was said there.
The challenge that you face, as well as the one that faces everyone else, is that it is difficult to develop positive habits and that it is simple to maintain negative habits.
It is undeniably accurate in regard to me. After I began my profession, like the majority of us, I didn’t intend to begin working out for around six years.
But it never occurred. I would give it a try here and there for a couple of or three weeks, but nothing I tried ever stayed.
After then, it happened all of a sudden.
And it did so because of a shift in the circumstances of my life. I wanted to be able to keep up with my kid for the next twenty years because he was old enough to imitate me and I wanted to be able to do that.
That terrified me straight basically.
I came to the realization that in a lot of aspects of my life, including my fitness, he was going to base a big chunk of his idea of how to live life and what kinds of habits were essential based on what he saw me doing in my own life.
Therefore, instead of pretending that I was going to start working out, I went ahead and did it.
I employed a mix of the strategies listed below in order to establish my new routine.
You may make use of them to help solidify your new habit and increase the proportion of positive habits in your life.
1. Why Having “Good Intentions” is a Certain Way to Fail
We’ve all had the experience of telling ourselves that even if we didn’t accomplish what we set out to, at least we had good intentions.
The phrase “I meant well” is a really excellent technique to ensure that your behavior will not become ingrained. It involves making your intentions the most important factor in the evaluation.
The issue is that one does not really need to take any action in order to have excellent intentions. Therefore, you won’t.
It is essential for you to genuinely succeed in creating a new habit that you make the decision that what you value more than intentions are outcomes.
When you shift your value from intentions to results, you will stop just talking about starting the habit or trying to figure out the perfect way to do it, and instead you will just start doing it because that is the only way to get the results you want.
When you shift your value from intentions to results, you will stop just talking about starting the habit or trying to figure out the perfect way to do it.
You are going to figure it out as you go along, and when you do, you will be that much closer to the outcome that you want.
2. There is Nothing Remarkable About Mondays: You Should Begin Your New Routine Today
When you make the decision to form a new habit, immediately begin the process of forming that habit.
There is no need to hold off until the next Monday or the day after that, when you finally get a full night’s rest of eight hours, or when a lovely fairy comes up to you and says, “You should start today.”
Beginning right away will make the process of developing your habit much simpler.
Delay will result in two consequences that you want to steer clear of: a) you will lose the days between when you intended to start and when you actually started, which you might have used to practice your new habit; and b) instead of doing the habit, you will have spent those days practicing precisely what you are trying to steer clear of, which is not doing the habit.
Both of these outcomes are undesirable.
Therefore, begin right now, and put those precious days to good use by practicing the outcome that you genuinely want to get.
3. Why Put Yourself Through This?
Developing a new routine takes effort, and maintaining that routine is much more challenging.
However, if you are able to articulate the purpose behind your actions, you will have a lot simpler time maintaining your resolve.
Using myself as an example, I can say that when I tried to exercise because it was something I “was meant to do” and I wanted to lose weight because my clothing were fitting more snugly than I like, it was unsuccessful.
The light bulb went out, though, when I realized that my “why” was to be able to keep up with my high-energy kid now, to be healthy enough to continue moving and playing well into old age, and to be a good example for him.
You also need to have a genuine objective that you care about, one that is uniquely yours and not based on what other people think you should do in order for you to be able to make the change.
The development of the habit will then focus on the reason behind it rather than the habit itself. The routine that serves just as a means to an objective that you want.
Therefore, if you skip a day, you are not only missing a day of your routine, but you are also skipping a chance to get closer to achieving your objective. That is far more difficult to bypass.
4. It Doesn’t Matter How You Do It; What Matters is That You Understand Why
This is a really important point. The way in which we discuss the new routine with ourselves will almost entirely influence whether or not we are successful in establishing it.
Do we discuss the habit in terms of why we desire to form the behavior in the first place, or do we just refer to the habit itself?
To illustrate what I mean, let’s look at the example of my workout routine…
My internal monologue during those times when I couldn’t get things to stick went something like this:
I’m going to miss today’s exercise since I’m exhausted and I need another hour of sleep (despite the fact that I watched three hours of Netflix before choosing to go to bed the night before), so I’ll just stay in bed. It’s not a huge problem; I’ll get it the day after tomorrow.”
I’d have this talk a few mornings in a row, and finally I didn’t even go through the bother of having it; working out simply wasn’t an option anymore. I’d have it a few mornings in a row, and soon I didn’t even go through the trouble of having it.
But after that, everything was different. On those mornings when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before, I began having conversations with myself that focused on my “why” rather than my “how” (the actual habit).
That conversation went something like this: “Do I want to trade this opportunity to be a better example and a more involved parent for an extra hour of sleep?” I never said yes.
When you are contemplating whether or not today is the day that you will break a certain routine, frame the question in terms of the outcome that you want to achieve rather than the action that you are going to do to get that end.
Because giving up means deciding that you no longer want that result, you are much less likely to do so because doing so will be a public admission of that decision.
5. Decide Once, and Never Decide Again
Every time you question whether you will be able to maintain your new routine, you are putting yourself in a position where you have the option to give up.
Therefore, make things simpler for yourself by deciding from the outset that whatever your routine is, that is what you will continue to do from this point forward, and then never giving the issue another thought again.
When I first started working out on a regular basis, I relied significantly on this one.
It was not my intention to get in a workout today.
I came to the conclusion that the best way for me to become in shape and keep it that way was to exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.
The choice to not exercise was no longer an option. When I made the decision that I was going to be in better shape, I already knew the answer to the issue of whether or not I would work out on a daily basis, so I stopped asking myself that question.
Especially on nights when I don’t get anything near the amount of sleep that I would want, I have to make sure that I remind myself of this fact at least sometimes.
But despite this, I hardly never make the effort to inquire about it. I simply get up and go.
Make a decision, and then put it behind you.
Declare that you are the person who engages in your routine because you want to achieve your objective, and then behave in a manner that is consistent with that statement.
6. Finish Your Task in a Timely Manner
Put yourself in a situation where you have already committed to something before you are required to do so.
Do something in such a way that undoing it will need conscious effort if you want to break the habit of doing it.
To continue with my exercise example, the night before I am going to workout, I pull out my workout clothes and shoes, arrange them in a pile in my living room, and put together my gym bag.
In order for me to avoid going to the gym right now, I will have to hang those garments back up. I have to consciously engage in some activity in order to avoid working out.
Therefore, in place of that, I get dressed and go to the gym.
Find anything you can do that will commit you to executing your new habit before you really have to execute the habit, and then, since you already have to do something, you will probably simply perform the habit rather than undoing the thing you did rather than completing the habit.
Use any one or more of these six strategies to help you finally establish a routine that you’ve been trying for so long without success.
Do it right now.
You are in for a nice surprise since this time around it will be a lot simpler for you to really go through with it.
But before you do that, I’d love to know what has helped you build and maintain new habits, whether it’s one of the six above or something different.
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Please leave a comment below and let me know!