Have you ever wanted to create a significant shift in your life by engaging in positive habits, and regardless of how good you know these habits are, you still manage to resort back to your old ways in less than three working days? I do this with working out more than I’d like to admit. I know that moving my body is good for me, and I know when I’ve finished, I’ll be high on endorphins and pride. Yet, when I’ve fallen out of the habit because of work, the challenge even to contemplate going to do a workout and showing up consistently feels enormous.
It’s not because I’m shit or lack discipline and motivation; it’s purely because our minds are hard-wired to do what feels most familiar and most ‘comfortable’. The idea of any kind of change, be it for the greater good or the worst, is unknown territory for the brain and requires new actions, new thoughts, new commitments, and all of the ‘newness’ makes your mind freak the fuck out and feel unsafe. It happens even when you know your current habit is detrimental to your well-being, goals, relationships and life.
So, how do you form new habits and stick with them? Humans are very “all or nothing”, and an all or nothing mindset sabotages our chances at living more positively.
We think there isn’t any point in going for a 5-minute run. Go for 3km, or don’t go at all. If we can’t sit still to meditate for 10 minutes, we’d rather stay anxious because any less than that seems pointless.
We have to let go of the all or nothingness and focus on the small, hardly even visible, might feel pretty pointless, incremental changes and commit to those consistently. Before you know it, that 5-minute jog has progressed into a 5km run, and you’ll be adding ‘Marathon extraordinaire’ into your Instagram bio.
So if you want to start reading, commit to reading three pages a day. If you want to start working out three times per week, start with one 15 minute session and see how you feel. If you want to begin a daily meditation practice, put down your phone for 2 minutes and breath.
Allow your mind and body to ease into your new habit until it feels familiar and known. As you find comfort in your new way of being, you will gradually push your comfort zone more and more.
So, what habit would you like to invite into your life?
What scares you about committing to this new habit?
How could you intentionally ease yourself into it in a gentle and nurturing way?
Remember, if you steer off track, you’re not a failure. Release your expectation, and try again tomorrow.
Sending you love and good vibes,