One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the course of my life is to not rely on motivation....don't do this! It is a fickle friend that leaves you high and dry when you need it most. It's like the friend that's there in good times, but is missing in action when times are tough.
So if you want to develop consistent habits, don’t rely on motivation. Don’t rely on "feeling like it." Commit to showing up, instead. When we are trying something new and want to be consistent at it, we must show up and do the work, particularly when we desire to change a habit.
However, how do you develop consistency? Bust these myths to find out!
There are many myths about habit change out there. Although it is well known that knowledge doesn't necessarily equate to habit change, it does begin to crack our mental models over time. Here are 5 myths to start busting featured in Eric Schmieder's 2018 article: 7 Myths about habit formation...busted (which I can no longer find online.)
A lack of willpower is to blame for our bad habits. There are several reasons why we are not able to stick with a change and it's not because of our lack of willpower. In fact, the key to habit formation is not using willpower. You have to make the habits small and easy to execute. As I complete my habits certification course, I’m finding that taking incremental steps work best.
Learning about the benefits of new habits helps change our behavior. I think everyone has figured this one out. No matter how much you learn, it doesn't necessarily equate to changing behaviors. Changing your environment to prevent or lessen the chances of engaging in behavior you want to change is key. Shifting your environment works better than having a ton of knowledge.
You can form habits through motivation. As Motivational Guru, Zig Ziglar, famously said, "motivation doesn't last, well neither does bathing, that's why you have to do it daily." The reality is that most people don't feel like doing whatever it is they desire to do on a daily basis. You have to have systems in place that will trigger you to perform a small action toward your goal. With a system in place, you don't have to rely solely on motivation, though it is an important part of the equation.
Change Is Difficult. To be honest, I sort of believe this myth, but am learning to make installing new habits easier. As I discover and learn new methods, I will share what I've learned based on my personal and researched experiences. From what I've read so far, change is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Sometimes we need to find the right methodology to make change stick and it often starts with making small, incremental steps not big leaps. However, tracking our changes keeps us focused on the change we want to manifest consistently in our lives.
Going Cold Turkey Is the Only Way. This method may work for many people, but it's not the only way. Making small incremental changes toward your goal over time is just as effective and more sustainable. The danger in going cold turkey is that people fault themselves if they slip back into old patterns, which makes it challenging to start again because people have the tendency to beat themselves up. B.J. Fogg, the Author or Tiny Habits reminds us that we change best by feeling good, not bad. Therefore, practicing self-compassion is key to changing our habits until they become sustainable.
When you bust these myths, you empower yourself to change and fuel your success by taking incremental steps, changing your environment, instituting the right triggers, and practicing self-compassion.
How have you shown up consistently lately to make a new habit stick in your life?
Cheering you on,