When motivation fails, habits succeed.
If you take up an exercise routine, you can drastically improve your health. Here are some techniques - backed by science - that can help give you more motivation to exercise.
An implementation intention is an action plan. You write out what you will do—when you will do it—and where you will do it. You can go right down to what clothes you will wear, and have them set aside somewhere. Plan for setbacks with an "IF...THEN" format. For example, IF I am held up at work, THEN, I will do a 10-minute interval routine on YouTube instead of going to the gym.
There are times you will need willpower; there's no getting around that. But make it easy on yourself. Don't take up jogging if you hate running. Anything that's moderately active will do. Would you prefer dancing, hiking, boxing, fencing, swimming or climbing instead?
Motivation is beautiful, but it's finite.
Often when we talk about setting & achieving a new goal, we mention the motivation for what got us going on this new path. And that’s great, by the way — we NEED that initial nudge to get the ball rolling.
The problem is that it won’t keep rolling once it hits an uphill slope.
The daily grind sucks, even if it’s working on something you love.
Motivation is a beautiful thing to take advantage of when it strikes. It gives us unusual powers of focus and productivity. Use that when it’s around.
But motivation is finite, and if we’re operating from the noun as defined above, we can almost think of it as a separate being from ourselves that chooses when to visit. We can’t beg, force, or manipulate it into sticking around longer than it wants to.
It feels incredible to want to make a huge change, but change is hard. And that excitement will wear off far faster than any real plan can be created for executing on that excitement.
This is where discipline comes in to save the day.
The benefits & beauty of habit
By understanding how we establish and practice habits each day, we can figure out how to implement beneficial ones (and remove burdening ones).
When we begin something new, we must focus a lot of our brainpower on it because it’s out of the ordinary, and we are learning how to do that thing. But as we repeatedly do it, we need to devote less and less conscious brain activity to it until it eventually becomes second nature.
"Motivation will fire the engine… at first. Discipline will keep you going when you think it’s out of gas."
Habit change isn’t hard. But it is time-dependent, which means it is hard in today’s right-now society.
If there’s something in your life you want to change — large or small — utilize your newfound motivation to decide on a new action you’re going to take daily that will help you to improve that thing.
And despite the size of the goal, it’s probably going to take little steps to get to it.
How long it takes to form a habit
It takes approximately 21 days for a new habit to form and 66 days for that behavior to become automatic.
When setting new habit goals, keep this in mind. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Your brain is working its hardest to lay those new pathways and make that habit automatic. But you should let it do what it’s doing without giving it too much to deal with at once — so stick to one new habit at a time.
Form habits. Create discipline. Stop worrying about when motivation will leave you… because at some point, it will.
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