When it comes to changing habits, we always plan for the actions that the habit will entail. For example, if you want to make going to the gym a habit, you might make a workout plan and a schedule for your workouts. You might even keep a picture of a person whose body you are looking at for inspiration. These are all great things to incorporate into a new habit and are a part of the process. But before you even start planning what you’re going to do, there’s one thing that will create a solid base and significantly increase your chances of sticking to a new habit.
The Motive for the Habit
The reason as to why you are trying to develop a new habit is a key factor in the process. If it’s meditation, why do you want to meditate? To relieve stress? To be nicer to your family? To feel some sort of oneness you heard a guru talk about? Whatever it is, you need to articulate it through writing. You need to sit down and paint the picture of what is motivating you to change this particular habit.
When the road begins to feel long and hard, you’re going to need something to remind yourself as to why you’re doing this in the first place. Without an underlying philosophy, you’ll begin to self-talk your way onto the easier path.
I started working out when I was 16, but it wasn’t until I was 25 that I had a solid reason to exercise. At 25 I had one of many depressive episodes. I finally saw a therapist who recommended 30 minutes of cardio a day, which had shown to help with mood. I went from exercising 2-4 times a week to 5-6 times a week. I now do intense strength training, cardio, yoga, and go hiking when I can. I no longer look forward to rest days. Every day I want to push my body. This isn’t because I want to look good or because I pay a monthly gym membership so I feel like I have to go. I exercise because my life depends on it. And if I don’t, I’ll fall into a depressive episode that can throw my life off track. It’s the fire under my ass that keeps me going.
The Questions You Need To Answer
So what is it that fuels you? Do you want to be the nicest person your friends know? The healthiest adult in the room? Below are a couple questions you should spend 10-20 minutes answering. Choose a habit and write about it.
1. What good will come from this habit? What would my life look like in 3-5 years if I instilled this habit?
2. What bad things will happen if I don’t develop this habit? What would my life look like in 3-5 years if I didn’t instill this habit?