So here’s a question to consider. Whats the hardest part of sticking to a routine?
Now, this could be any type of routine- an exercise plan, a diet, a deadline, even going to sleep on time or waking up early. It could be getting to class on time, starting a new hobby, or even getting into the habit of showing up for meets with your pals on time! (I’m sadly guilty of failing at that last one far too often, and repeating “I’ll be there in five minutes” several times by text as I approach from over half an hour away…)
Whether it’s a long-standing routine or the type of good habit that you want to get into, it occurs to us here at Anam, that staying motivated is the key factor in sticking to any kind of decision to crack into a new habit.
Motivation. Yes, it sounds like a really simple answer, but it’s pretty clear that motivation is a dreadfully tricky thing to maintain. Without that constant drive to go forward, we often find ourselves dropping into bad habits or trudging along in tired old routines (again, something I’m quite guilty of!).
Making changes isn’t so much a feeling that “I would like to do better”. Obviously, if it was that simple, we wouldn’t even need to talk about it! It takes energy, and finding the energy to make changes in your life can be quite a painstaking ordeal.
Its March now, so that’s over two months since many millions of good decent folks have come up with new years resolutions to make themselves feel better about themselves by various methods, most of which will have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another.
Even if we think it seems simple from the outset, getting into a new routine is never just making one small change. It’s about making one small change at a time, every day. Actually, It often involves far more than that, because starting a new, often uncomfortable habit isn’t just doing a new thing- it also involves us resisting the urge to maintain the old, comfortable habit. In this case, we often find ourselves surprised that we are using up twice as much energy as we planned for!
Rapidly, we find that adding a new routine to our schedule (no matter how beneficial or noble our goals may be) results in tiredness, less time for other parts of our life, additional stress, and suddenly, *poof* our motivation disappears like a wisp of smoke.
That’s obviously a great shame! So, we would just like to pop in and throw some words of encouragement to anyone out there who can relate to this common struggle of ours!
For whatever kind of change you want to make in your life, we’d like to try to simplify it just an extra little bit. So please bear just these three things in mind when you want to embark on a new quest of self-development!
1- Plan in advance: Prepare for the unexpected consequences of making changes! Give yourself slightly more time to adjust to your new habit than you think it might take. If it’s a diet, maybe break it in gradually. If it’s exercise, take an extra few rest days for the first while. If you’re learning a new language or applying for a new job, give yourself some additional time for setbacks. (If your plan is to become more punctual, leave extra early just in case!)
2- Go easy on yourself! This is basically a nice way asking you to be patient with yourself! Nothing worthwhile comes easy, its sad but true! Go at a reasonable pace and be consistent with yourself, and the most important thing, don’t quit any worthwhile task simply because you slipped up or weren’t 100% successful immediately. Simply go easy on yourself, forgive and forget, and get back up on that horse! (Unless, of course, your goal is to do less horse-riding…Although that’s probably a less popular resolution than most!)
3- The tough slog: This is the hardest part, because it’s the part that stays with you longest. Luckily, it’s the part that also gives you the greatest sense of achievement if you can get through it. Basically, you should expect to run out of energy and enthusiasm, which may even hit you pretty soon after starting your new routine. You just need to persevere sometimes, until you adjust, and the inspiration comes back. You can do it, if you just keep showing up! Remember, expending mental energy and physical energy are both exhausting, it’s completely natural to be tuckered out when starting something new, even if people around you seem to be doing the same thing with much more ease. In this case, your motivation should be simply to keep going, even when the enthusiasm is low.
Remember, doing what’s good for you isn’t always fun, but it eventually pays off!
Motivation doesn’t come from some external place. It comes from within you! We hope you find a good reason to stay motivated in whatever good cause you wish to apply yourself to!