"It´s not the will to win that matters,
everyone has that.
It´s the will to prepare to win that matters."
- Paul "Bear" Bryant
Have you ever tried to break a habit or tried to create a new healthier one?
We all know that breaking old habits are very difficult, especially if you have had the same habit for many years.
Creating a new habit is also very difficult. Even if you know that this new habit will be good for you, it will most of the time require some kind of effort and discipline that the bad habit didn´t require.
Bad habits are easy to develop but difficult to deal with in the long run. Good habits will be more difficult to develop but a lot easier to live with.
When people are trying to change something..... whether it is their diet, starting to exercise, starting to save money instead of spending it....
One big mistake a lot of people make is that they try do too much too soon. They want to see some results quickly.
By doing too much too soon they will set themselves up for failure and going back into a relapse.
You decide that on Monday you are going to change your lifestyle. You are going to eat a lot of veggies and you are going to go running 3 miles 3-5 times per week.
Nothing wrong with a great vision of seeing yourself as healthy and in great shape, but the way you go about it might not be the best way. Your vision is great but your plan to achieve it....not so good.
Most great dreams and visions will require smaller goals. Like daily, weekly and monthly goals.
We can call them stepping stones.
If you haven´t been eating healthy in a long time, it might be too big of a goal for you to start eating mostly veggies, fruit, fish and barely nothing else You might be excited for a few days until you realize that you don´t even like broccoli, grapefruit or salmon. Instead a great daily goal can be to replace an unhealthy snack with a fruit and then to drink plenty of water. Add a vegetable to your meal and cut back on potatoes, pasta or rice. Get used to the new routine for a week or two. Then add a few more healthy choices. If you change too quickly you will easily get bored and you might even quit after a few days.
The same thing happens to people that haven´t exercised in a couple of years. They decide to go running a couple of miles because they were able to that distance 5 years ago. If you have been sitting on the couch for a few years you might want to start with walking a mile or two, 3 times per week. When your body gets used to this you can either increase the distance or the amount of times per week that you exercise. People can easily get hurt if they start doing to much. They end up on the couch with a sore ankle and they won´t get started again for another year.
Don´t let this be you. Start small and increase slowly. Build momentum by taking baby steps.
It´s about the habit, not the amount
How about saving money. If you are used to spending all of your paycheck and then some, you might not be able to start saving $500 per month. You might have to start with cutting up your credit cards and open a savings account. Then you start with maybe saving $25-50 per month plus you decide to stay out of the stores, to not be tempted to buy something that you don´t need. Slowly you can increase the amount you save and after a while you will be surprised how much money you will have in your savings account and you will realize that you don´t even miss shopping anymore.
Again, it is about establishing a new habit and not about the amount.
What you are trying to do is to get yourself used to a new habit..... mentally. You are developing self-discipline. Self-discipline is a muscle and a lot of people haven´t used this particular muscle for a very long time. It is easy to plan but it isn´t that easy to actually put the plan into action. That is when discipline comes in. Self discipline is to do the things that you decided that you were going to do, when you are suppose to do them, no matter if you feel like doing it or not.
You have to motivate yourself to get going and to actually do the thing you said you were going to do.
In the beginning it is easy to be excited about a new goal.
You decided to run 3 miles per week even though you haven´t ran for years. How long do you think you will be able to continue to do it when you are getting bored, tired, running out of time and feeling unmotivated and you would rather watch TV?
How about if you decide that you are going to go for one mile walk 3 times per week. Do you think that you will be able to do it during those days when you don´t feel like doing it? I think so.
It is a lot easier to start with a small habit and allow it to grow ......than to do it the other way.
It is more a mental thing. You are creating a habit in your mind. You are creating self-discipline. Nothing much will happen in the beginning with a small habit but if you stick with it .....it will grow and after a while it will be hard to quit your new habit. If you continue your habit of walking and then adding some more miles..... then one day you will wake up and you will realize that you are now a runner. Your life has been transformed. Mile by mile and day by day.
Your future is determined by your willingness to create small habits and then actually following these habits until you accomplish your dream.