After reading a bunch on what makes routines stick – one of the things I’ve found to be too, too true in my own life is that I stick with routines that I actually like far more often than ones that are a pain. That may sound super obvious but it’s also a little counterintuitive to the whole “change your life live different” industry. I feel that most people seek to reach goals via brute force – This is where the seeds of failure are planted. Eventually you just get tired of feeling deprived and limited and quit.
I read this article the other day and was knocked over by how much sense it made. The key to this discussion is the difference between having self-control, and having to exercise willpower.
“In these rigorous tests, people who say they’re great at self-control aren’t much better at controlling themselves than the rest of us.”
These studies showed that what actually proves to be more useful to those individuals with higher levels of success in their lives, wasn’t their ability to exercise self-control through willpower, but the avoidance of temptation in the first place.
Habits that Linger
That may sound discouraging. How are we to build healthy habits from scratch if willpower is not going to help us, and may actual hurt? I’d implore you to think of this in a different way. Let’s start with the best news: you’re trying too hard.
Okay, maybe “too hard” isn’t the issue, but this information tells us we need to try smarter.
“The people who exercised more effortful self-control also reported feeling more depleted. So not only were they not meeting their goals, they were also exhausted from trying.”
Find steps in your routine that make you feel grateful and satisfied.
Your habits, your journey in life is not going to look like someone else’s. Invest some time in identifying what healthy things feel gratifying to you. What routines or activities not only make you feel like you’re on the right path, but also just make you happy and satisfied. Lean towards those activities and let them support you
Avoid the Unnecessary
Additionally, take concrete steps to avoid things you know will knock you off course. Building the habits of saying no to the unnecessary and building a supportive environment as you go will prevent fewer opportunities to step away from your routines.
Take Time for Self-Care
Lastly, the most important thing that came to my mind reading this article and others, is that the key you’re going to benefit the most from is a self-care mindset. Shaming yourself for missteps, injecting guilt into your day because you’re a normal human can be an accelerating force for a wayward spiral. Be generous with yourself, be willing to experiment with your routines and your personal path.
What are some healthy habits have you tried that you don’t stick to out of willpower but out of real enjoyment? Let me know in the comments!