THE HABIT THAT PROCEEDS THE HABITS
Life Design Action: Start a habit that will change your life
Requires: A flip in thinking, a new set of excuses, little actions.
Does not require: Aspirations to climb Everest
Your life, your health, your wealth today are all the result of your habits. Those little, regular routine decisions that you’ve made day in, day out, day in, day out, have grown, accumulated and can now be seen as the landscape of your life. Whether you decided to bother putting energy in (when nothing appeared to be coming out); invested in your tomorrow (when you could have been watching telly or putting your feet up today); going to the gym instead of putting it off; choosing an apple instead of the pasty …. all those tiny habits are the daily bricks that have been laid to build this empire …
Your Life Experience.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I made the conscious decision to stay as active as possible; to keep my body moving and flexible. However, whilst I’ve taken walks here and there, I’ve found it very hard to create a sustainable daily habit. Tiredness, morning sickness, time, children, business, busy-ness have all crowded in front of me, demanding my energy and focus.
Every night (and I mean EVERY NIGHT) I set my alarm for six so that I can get up and go walking.
Every morning (and I mean EVERY BLOODY MORNING) I wake up, switch the alarm off and go back to sleep.
This is v v frustrating.
Recently though, I began to observe my thinking habits as opposed to trying to set an action habit. I noticed that on waking up early, my thinking habit is to immediately list excuses as to why I should NOT do it.
“If I get up now and rummage in the drawer for clothes, Ads will wake up. And possibly the children. I don’t want to wake anyone up … Snore”
“If I go walking now, I might
sweat perspire. Then I’ll have to wash my hair before work and I don’t have time. Ooh dilemma …. Snore.”
“I have to do loads before school this morning. Packed lunches aren’t made. Need to iron top. Sounds stressful … Snore.”
“If I do a 60 minute power walk, I’ll use up all of my energy reserve that I’ve spent all night building up and then I’ll be rendered flaky and pathetic at my workshop and won’t be able to teach … Snore, snore, snore.”
On the other hand, thinking back to the times when I’ve been completely engaged in health and fitness, my thinking habits were different. In fact they were the complete opposite. When we are truly in the ZONE of achieving a goal/life style change, we look for every excuse under the sun TO DO it.
So actually, the solution to changing habits is quite simple.
1. Troubleshoot the main excuses for not doing *the thing*. For example, I got my walking stuff out and put it in an easy access place so I didn’t have to fumbling about in drawers in the dark.
2. Get into the zone where you are looking for all the excuses TO DO it (which will naturally fool your brain into thinking you are excited and this thing is going to be pleasurable).
3. Start simply. Make it SO easy that you can’t resist yourself. Do a 10 minute Yoga session. Take a walk so easy that even a toddler could manage without moaning. Have just one extra glass of water. One extra piece of fruit. Write one sentence of your book.
Start small. Think of good excuses to do it. This is how to start a habit that will eventually change your life.