If you asked me I’d say my Uncle Mike has every tool known to man. He has tools in his work shop, his basement, and in sheds around his house. He doesn’t just have them he likes to use them and is generous with his time. So why then do I have an uncompleted desk sitting in my garage?! I have all of the right tools available to me but no motivation to use them.
I recently developed a Pinterest addiction and found a steel pipe/wood desk that I wanted to make. I am currently typing with my laptop on a TV tray while an incomplete steel frame sits in my garage. Total project time should have been a few hours of actual work with time in between for paints and stains to dry. It’s been over a week.
This gets me thinking about workouts and motivation. You can have all of the workout tools in the world available to you but if you don’t have any motivation to use them you will never take action.
As we start this new year you probably want to start a new workout plan or change a habit. The past few weeks have been outside of your normal eating and scheduling and it’s taken a tole on your body. You're motivated to get it in gear.
But is starting a new habit really a matter of motivation? Most think that taking action requires motivation. That may be right but not necessarily. You can act with no motivation at all. People go to work daily and are effective at jobs they hate.
Motivation is a good thing to get you started but motivation will fade out. If you want to make lasting changes you need to develop habits that will carry you through the times where you’re busy or tired or just don’t want to do it.
How to Develop a Habit
Make Small and Attainable goals
We have talked about goals before, but its worth reminding you that your goal of going to the gym 5 times a week starts with going to the gym just once. Make the smallest step toward a habit then start adding on. Don’t get yourself into a routine that sets you up to fail.
Work New Habits into Established Routines
If your goal is to eat better but you eat fast food all of the time it may be too much to ask you to stop eating fast food. Instead of getting off of fast food cold turkey start by making better choices when you eat out. Linking new habits to old ones makes you more likely to keep the new ones.
Take the Options Out
You tell yourself you’re gonna go to the gym but when you get there you see all of the weights and equipment and you’re action becomes crippled by decisions. Too many decisions come from too many options. Instead of all of the options make a distinct plan, or let me do it for you, so you have much less to think about when you get there.
Don’t Forget the Process
Sometimes we focus only on the end results, but it is the process that gets us there. Instead of thinking only about how you would look 15 pounds lighter think about what you’ll be doing and how you’ll be feeling along the way. How much better would just 2 pounds lighter feel? What would you eat and do to get those 2 pounds off?
Take Out the Derailers
When you start a new habit it is easy to bail on it. You need to identify potential derailers to your new habit. There will be things that come up that will put doubt into whether or not you will go to the gym or eat healthy. Identify those potential problems before they arise and make note of new ones when they appear.
You plan to wake up early to go to the gym but you know it’ll be cold and you won’t wanna get out of bed. Set your heat to come on half hour before you wake. There is always a way to think ahead and stop a familiar problem before it happens. For the new and unexpected ones, analyze them and plan ahead for next time.
As you start the year off with a bang think carefully about the habits that will get you to success, don’t rely on motivation alone. It will fade and you’ll be left typing on a TV tray with an unfinished desk in your garage.
5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick by Gregory Ciotti