Well, we know it’s hard to keep up with something we willingly choose to do ourselves (a resolution), for any length of time. Yes, we can stick to a low-fat diet and go hungry for a few days or week or fortnight, but eventually this fades. And yes, we can do exercise we hate for a while… until we run out of drive.
But what about getting up to go to work every morning, brushing our teeth or changing baby diapers. These may not be our favourite things to do either, they’re not mine – but I do them daily without the risk of running out of drive. That’s because I have no choice you think, but aIso know they’ve become habits. They are so ingrained in what I do and who I am so much that I do them without even considering skipping a day or a week. I don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or change my baby. It’s just what I do – a habit.
The more you look at it, the more you see the relationship between habits and will power or determination. To build a new habit, it takes a lot of determination to get it done daily (or as regularly as required). As you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Just being aware of this process helps one stick it out. I know I don’t always have to make such a big effort to work out or skip unhealthy food for breakfast as there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know eventually it will become a habit to go out for a walk each morning and eat fruit or eggs for breakfast.
While we’re in that transition from willpower or determination to habit, we can use tools to make it easier:
- Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track.
- Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that willpower when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off.
Even something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run.
Do what you can to help your determination along until you have made the new behaviour a true habit. After that it’ll be easy and automatic and you’ve created a new lifelong habit. Go you!
If you missed my last article on New Year, new habits, it focused on creating those new resolutions/habits and sticking to them. A reader told me how she finds it hard to stick to new habits because of her lack of self-discipline, i.e she knows she isn’t accountable to anyone but herself so when she runs out of gas, it’s easy to give up. True for you too? Hopefully the above will help…
#howdeterminedareyou #determinationgetsyoustarted #habitkeepsyougoing