3 Troublesome stages that are stopping you from building a new habit.
Do you want a Great Life, or do you want to build Life into something Great?
We all know what the right option is, but we still choose the one which is not demanding.
So, we go for “Wanting a Great Life” rather than “Making Life into something Great”.
Allow me to explain!
Wanting a Great Life:
Something that we all want.
But something that not all of us have.
It’s because when you want something, you keep building its image in your head without building it in Reality.
The fact is, nothing comes to you if it’s only in the imagination.
It’s easy to visualize a great life but at the same time, it is 100x harder to create one.
It’s great to have a frame of something that you want.
But if you do not begin to paint the picture that you want in the frame, the empty frame begins to corrode.
You are wanting it and hope for it, but you are not building it.
You become a victim of unmet Realities which makes life miserable.
Wanting to Build Life into Something Great:
When you not only visualize the frame but start painting your picture, you get one step closer to the final Frame.
The idea is to live what you wish to have but it’s possible only if you begin to add some real colors to the picture.
So, what do you need to make Life Great?
For instance, imagine your goal as a final product.
Let’s go backwards to find out how you will make this final product.
- You will start with a picture of the product.
- You will figure out what things you will need to make that product.
- You will start collecting materials to make the product.
- You will then start the execution.
- Discipline, Consistency and motivation will be your tools to finish making the product.
Here comes the Big Reality…
The tools are Expensive.
You can afford the material, but the hard part is to afford patience, discipline and Consistency all the way through.
Now what makes these tools affordable?
One Habit towards every tool is the key building block of your final product.
What is a Habit?
Habit is the smallest step to your biggest Goal. It is the ladder that will help you paint your picture step by step.
It is a behavioral pattern that can be developed through frequent repetition.
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.
How successful or unsuccessful you are, is a result of your habits.
But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? How would you go about it?
When you have something in your mind to achieve, break the goal into the smallest, good habit that will help you build all the tools.
But while you are on your way to starting a new habit for building your final product, you will find it breaking several times.
So, before you think of becoming successful in building a new habit, think of what reasons will cause you to break it.
It’s when you know your hurdles, you will build something against them so that you have a robust system that will help you build the new habit despite breaking it.
3 Troublesome Stages that are stopping you from Building a Habit
You will struggle to start a new habit that has no instant reward
Human minds want cheap dopamine.
Easy and instant reward!
What is easy?
Anything that gives you instant pleasure without much waiting for it, becomes easy for you to do.
Eg. Someone who smokes a cigarette gets that divine feeling of being intoxicated the very moment he/she inhales it.
The pleasure is so instant that smoking a cigarette does not look like a task but rather one enjoys it.
Having a pizza will also give you an instant appetizing feeling. The moment you eat it, your taste buds enjoy it right then.
No matter how good or bad the instant reward is, the tendency is to enjoy it when it makes you feel good.
Human minds repel expensive dopamine.
Difficult and getting a delayed Reward!
What is difficult?
Anything that does not give you instant pleasure but has a favorable reward at a later time, becomes difficult to do.
Your mind is not prepared for delayed gratification.
The ability to delay an impulse for an immediate reward to receive a more favorable reward at a later time
Eg. Gooseberries are the richest source of Vitamin C. One Gooseberry contains Vitamin C of around 30 oranges.
Isn’t the amount whopping?
Eating a Gooseberry has great benefits for skin, hair greying and vision.
So, what’s difficult here?
They are so sour that eating them looks seemingly impossible for many of us.
The sourness might even cause a little hypersensitivity in the teeth.
In addition to its sourness, the benefits of eating the gooseberries will not make the skin glow, improve your eyesight or stop greying of hair the moment you consume them.
So not only is eating them difficult but the reward is delayed as well.
No matter how great the delayed reward is, you find it hard to patiently wait for something for so long.
This means, anything that does not give us instant pleasure becomes a subject of procrastination.
We do not procrastinate watching an Instagram reel with cheap dopamine. And when it comes to doing something which is rewarding but does not give us an easy dopamine rush, we find it hard to do it.
So, it’s not hard to build a habit…it’s hard to build a habit that does not give you instant pleasure!
You are prone to Break a new habit because it has no instant loss.
It’s not always about getting a benefit, but it is more about being saved from the loss.
The loss that is not right in the moment.
It’s like investing for a life insurance.
Sometimes the reward is not a benefit but a prevention from a loss.
Eg. Doing Yoga or exercise does not give you a different body or give you some benefits.
What it does is, it helps you keep your body’s youth which you already have, preserved.
So even if you miss it, it does not scare you much.
I’ll talk about myself.
I have a slim body, but I aspire to practice yoga so that ageing does not take a toll on my immunity, health and youth.
I start practicing it for some days because I Am aware of the reward it will come with.
Despite this awareness, I tend to break the routine because my body is working fine without yoga as well.
It is hard to stick to a new Habit when you know the reward will not be something like having a profit but preventing losing what you already have.
Even if you are someone who is making a new habit of controlling your diet so that you can shed that extra weight, you are more prone to Break the habit unless your body fat is troubling you.
When the prime reason for diet control is not something that is a severe problem, but you want to do it to get a better physique and fitter, the loss of breaking the habit does not look massive to you.
An unpredictable tomorrow is always guaranteed to break the habit
We and our life both walk together making an impact on each other at every stage.
You can control your reaction to life, but you cannot change how Life wants to act.
If anything, that makes life favorable for you, is how you respond to it.
Each day comes along with its unpredictability and your new habit will also be encountered by it.
The tendency to fall flat on your face while you endeavor to build a new habit despite the motivation and enthusiasm you have has quite a bigger chance.
Not that your willpower faded, not that you lost your goal, not that you got tired, but sometimes the continuity gets interrupted because of unwanted hindrances that Life keeps coming up with.
You might fall ill, you might have guests at your place, you might be travelling, you might have a function, you might just not feel like doing it and many more countless reasons that would make you skip the habit.
You might feel that something is more urgent than the habit and you would skip it without being complacent.
And this is when the cascading effect would start.
These interruptions might break your flow and you might reach back to square one.
An unpredictable tomorrow is always guaranteed to break the new habit.
Strategies to Build a New Habit
Don’t start a new habit when it excites you
Don’t start your new habit the day your motivation excites you.
Excitement is very temporary.
The excitement comes when you attach yourself to all the rewards of the habit that are not instant, and you are blindfolded to the process.
When the motivation is high, the tendency is that you fail to see the process and your attention is all grabbed by the end reward.
And when you slowly get into the Process, the reward looks harder and distant at every step.
What do you need to do?
Let the excitement come down and settle like a base foundation.
Allow yourself to think not only of the reward but all the 3 troublesome stages that the process will come along with.
Once you feel the motivation that does not excite you but fills you with an unwavering spirit, get started with the new habit.
When you start a new habit with an awareness of all the pitfalls it will come along with, the chances of rising every time you fall are more.
You shouldn’t expect to fail, but you should plan for failure. Take some time to consider what will prevent your habit from happening. What are some things that are likely to get in your way? What are some daily emergencies that are likely to pull you off course? How can you plan to work around these issues? Or, at least, how you can bounce back quickly from them and get back on track?
When you think of all these questions before taking the plunge, you are preparing yourself not for the sprint but for a marathon.
Don’t start with an aim of not missing it on any single day
Missing a habit has no measurable impact on your long-term progress but discontinuing because you missed it will impede your progress.
Let me logically explain this to you.
There is a child in standard 5.
He fears failing in his subjects and thinks if he fails in standard 5, he will never be successful.
He wants to study but he studies with a fear that if he fails.
He feels mentally weak to face failure as it makes him doubt that he is incompetent.
Now when he fails, he collapses.
His morale is put down. He fails to get up, gear up and build the courage to work hard one another time.
This is because he had inked failing as something that would halt his growth.
Which in reality is never true.
Now there is another child who too fails but he never feared failing.
He fails but he knows he can study harder and get through.
His attitude is to pick up again and play harder to fight failure.
Not Missing a new habit even, a single day is a fear that will stop you from continuing it again.
You can succeed even if you miss practicing your habit on some days, but you cannot succeed to build a new habit if you consider missing as a failure.
Let the tools you’ve learned today be your compass. Let them guide you when you feel off-track (which, by the way is a totally normal feeling when you’re trying something new).
Now, go get started.
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Hi! This is Sarita Mian.
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