It’s a new year. This is the year that you decide to get back in shape and achieve your goals. Maybe you even write down your goals(something that is proven to increase your chances of success by more than 10 fold). Maybe you even write a detailed 10 step plan to achieve all your different goals. Finally tomorrow comes. You wake up early to go for that run, or to go to the gym. You get there, you get through a hard workout, it sucked, but you feel great for finally going after you want. When you come back home, you make a healthy breakfast, and you go to your computer. Maybe you start learning a new language, maybe you start a blog, all that matters is that you are being productive. Finally it is time to go to work or school, and you leave home. After a long day you are exhausted, you come home and you glance at the new language, the blog post, any maybe you keep working. This process continues for how long? How long before you revert? How long before all those changes disappear?
I’m sure this scene is familiar to you somewhat. Why do we burnout so soon? Why is it so hard to maintain good habits? The answer lies in the question. Habits.
You bit off more than you can chew. Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a week, and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. You have time. You do not have to do everything at once. Would you rather have 3-5 good habits by the end of the year, or have 12 good habits for 3 days? When it comes to habits, you should play for the long game. Do not try to do too much at once. And once you look at it from this perspective, you see connections between habits.
Exercise will lead to better work habits due to the positive effects it has to mental stamina.
Eating healthier will lead to better sleeping habits.
The combination of the two will lead to studying habits, because once you start exercising and eating healthy, you will become more health conscious, and you will find yourself googling the health benefits of certain foods, and specific workouts to achieve your fitness goals.
Soon you will find that everything is connected in a weird way. And so, you must ask yourself which habit should I start with, and how long before I add another one?
Well before we jump in, allow me to explain how I think you should approach the implementation of habit.
First. You should divide a habit into 3 parts. For example, let’s take exercise. Let’s say you want to exercise at least 4 times a week. And by exercise you mean lifting weights and running. The first part would be to go to the gym once a week, and your goal is to walk on a treadmill for 5 minutes. That’s it. Any more you do is extra credit.
wait! 5 minutes? Once a week? How am I going to lose any weight?
I didn’t say that you can’t do more, but by establishing 1 time a week as the goal, you relieve the pressure of going 4 times a week, when before you had no such habit. When people try to start going to a gym, when they miss a day, they guilt trip themselves, and actually turn themselves off from going to the gym again. By taking away the pressure, people become much more likely to maintain the habit.
This first part should be maintained for at least 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks, you should increase the habit to maintain at least 50% of your goal. So in this case, you might increase the amount to 2 gym visits, and maybe one of the visits have to be a full workout, and again, any more is extra credit and welcomed.
And once this habit is maintained for another 2 weeks, you are ready to increase to the full envisioned habit.
They say that it takes about a month to fully make a habit your habit. So you should implement your next habit after about a month in with your previous one. Please stick to this rule. Do not add another habit after two weeks, because you think you have “got it down already”. Have patience, there is a science to this, and I would advise you to listen to their studies.
Good luck with your year, and get after it. You are at the half way mark, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. You owe it to yourself to increase yourself.
Feedback is welcome, so please comment down below and tell me your thoughts!