Congratulations! you have made it past the “Quitters Day.” Hopefully things didn’t get sideways on you, but in case they did please check out the previous post here to reset and regroup.
Continuing on with the discussion about habits, there are some additional bits of information that will help on the journey to either creating new habits or getting rid of bad habits. Either way, the goal of becoming a better human is within sight.
We all like getting a reward. I remember going to the dentist as a kid and being able to pick out a toy on the way out. My reward for what felt like hours of stretching my mouth and having someone’s hands touching each tooth…a nice dinosaur eraser for my pencil…totally worth it! But rewards, in whatever way you want to view them, are why we do the things that we do. It may be something very intrinsic that only you are aware of or it may be something that the whole world can see on social media. Whatever your reward is, that is the driver of our actions. So if we are going to focus on rewards, there are some things we need to discuss.
If we are going through the trouble of making a change, the reward must be worth the trouble. The reward needs to match the effort involved in getting to the desired result.
The reward should be something that is satisfying. If the reward doesn’t satisfy, the desire to stick with the change won’t last.
The reward will need to be worth remembering. The teachable aspect of it will help to solidify it’s lasting affect.
Positive vs. Negative
Yes or no, head or tails, good or bad, positive or negative, it is or it isn’t. All things in life boil down to choice. With habits, you can have both. Although the choices that stem from each and get a bit tricky. Choosing to work on a habit can be one that is positive, or getting rid of one that is negative. There are key attributes to each, and although they sound obvious, the all require focus and a bit of planning.
- Obvious- as big of a red flashing sign as you can make. Sleeping in your workout clothes for a morning workout would fit into this category.
- Attractive- it needs to look as enticing as possible. There will be a time you will being to slip, and if you do, this needs to help be a reminder.
- Easy- the harder you make it for yourself, the easier it will be to give up. Do some preplanning to set things up for success with this new habit.
- Satisfying – this goes back to the reward. There needs to be something worthwhile to you at the end of this journey. Something that you keep reminding yourself of.
During the holidays, there was an ad from a Dutch pharmacy company, Doc Morris. But the ad was a grandfather beginning to get into shape. He started by dragging a kettlebell, then picking it up, then picking it up and extending it. He did this inside, outside, and in the snow at times. His end goal was to be able to pick his granddaughter up for her to place the star on top of the tree. The Christmas gathering was obvious, the desire to lift the granddaughter was attractive, knowing he could do it at his house was easy, and her face at Christmas was the reward. You can see the video here.
- Invisible- there is a lot of truth in out of sight out of mind. Remove any obstacles that may hinder or trip you up.
- Unattractive- the exact opposite of the positive habit, this one needs to look as badly as it can, so that you will not be tempted to do it.
- Difficult- the harder it is to get to the reward, the more likely it will be that you will give up trying to ease back into the bad habit you are trying to get away from.
- Unsatisfying- “I went through all that and all I got was a tshirt?” The reward needs to be something is not worth the trouble of sticking with the bad habit.
I love donuts. I even have a coffee cup that says “Abs are great, but have you tried Donuts?” One time, I decided to make a valiant effort to cut out sugar. I really did an outstanding job, but one day my son wanted donuts, and I thought, well, since I have done so good, surely one wouldn’t be too bad. As soon as I took a bite, I immediately regretted it. It was too much, the sugar was just too much. The reward I wanted turned out to be very much unsatisfying.
“Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity”- James Clear
This quote from James Clear made me stop and read again. Think about it. Many many people are motivated to do something. They want to make the change. They desire the end results. But when you stop and think about it, motivation will only get you so far. You must be clear about what you want. Most people can’t get that clarity and they give up on the change.
“If it were easy, everyone would do it.” – Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own
To make any type of change, something must change. You can’t continue doing what you have always done expecting different results. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits include beginning with the end in mind. Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, is based on this principle. You must know WHY you want to have this new behavior. That Why, needs to be your reminder, your tickler file reminding you to get back at it. To not waiver from the path laid out before you.
The One Thing, by Gary Keller focuses on figuring out that one thing that matters more than anything and removing all the other distractions.
You won’t always be motivated, but by being consistent, reminding yourself of why you are doing it, finding that clarity, you are so much farther along than most.