“It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.”
Every year I witness the same phenomenon unfold over and over again. As we plunge into the new year, there is hordes of people with new year’s resolutions determined to pick up a new habit or fix a shortcoming they don’t like about themselves. Improving your fitness, eating healthier, building better relationships, travelling more, stressing out less – the list is infinite. The mental construct of desiring to improve their lifes is the main force that motivates people to get their asses to the gym, cut out the junk food out, not let trivia matters stress you out etc.
I am not criticising people for wanting to change things in their lifes. However, too often if you ask the same people in March/April who were highly motivated at the beginning of January on how their progress is coming along, they will probably be less enthusiastic about the resolutions they had made. Their initial motivation quickly died off by the end of January once they realised that changing a habit involves more than just staying motivated. It requires long-term dedication and most of all – consistency.
In the past, I have found that whenever I wanted to change a habit (such as waking up earlier), being consistent was the „make-or-break“ factor that allowed me to motor through the difficult even though my motivation was at a low point. In the case of waking up earlier, there were mornings that I absolutely hated myself for having set the alarm clock to 07:00 AM – especially after feeling like a zombie because I had a tough workout the previous da and had gotten to bed only at 01:00 AM. However, I did get up at 07:00 even though I felt like sleeping for another 5 hours. I didn’t give in to the comfort of my warm bed but instead headed to the shower for an ice-cold shower.
My point here is: no matter how unmotivated and discouraged you are to change a habit or to see a resolution finally succeed, stay at it and don’t let short-term pleasure ruin your desire to change yourself in the long-term. Man up and battle through the difficult times. If you can stay consistent for a minimum of 2-3 months, your new habit will become second nature and you will thank yourself for having come so far. After that, your new habit will not feel like a chore anymore because you were consistent enough and actively practiced the habit. Even if you slip on your habit and eat crap food on a night out, or miss a workout session, you will most likely return to the foundation/baseline you previously established when you stayed consistent for long enough. In my case, I slept in once on a weekend and woke up at 11:00 AM. Of course I felt bad about myself for screwing up my consistency. However, the next morning I simply got up at 07:00 AM, accepted my incosistency and continued with being consistent again.
A guide by Scott H Young on „How to Change A Habit“ is really helpful and totally worth the investment.
If you are curious to know what habit I am currently working on: Talk less shit, do more action.
ACTA NON VERBA!