Life is full of the “should’s” and the “I need to’s” isn’t it? We know we should eat healthier, exercise more often and empty the dishwasher pronto, but what’s the best way to train ourselves to do the things we resist? I’ve found if I become a creature of habit I can lick the little every day battles AND enjoy freedom from the guilt of resisting those little tasks. Make the humdrum no big deal by relegating it to a habit you do without thinking (or over thinking).
I know if I leave those sneaky little daily to do’s up to motivation, memory or magic they won’t get done. In fact, I believe there’s almost a built in resistance to certain tasks we know we should do, because let’s face it, we just don’t feel like it! If we think about our must do tasks, we can procrastinate and prevaricate ad infinitum can’t we? Before we know it we’ve had another cup of coffee, a quick glance through the paper, email or Facebook and achieved zip.
So what’s the answer? How can you trick yourself into doing all the stuff you know is good for you and needs to get done.
Here’s how I do it.
Become a Creature of Habit. Just do it.
Don’t think about. Just set your body in motion and go.
- My habit is turning on the dishwasher at night. Every morning after my coffee, I open the door and start taking dishes out and stacking them where they live. I don’t think about it, I just turn into a dishwasher emptying robot. It gets done.
- Another habit is going for a walk almost every morning. After I’ve had my coffee and emptied the dishwasher, I pull on a t-shirt and shorts, tie my trainers, grab my iPhone and keys and I’m out the door. I drive to a park I like and walk about three miles while listening to an audiobook. Done. This may not work in the dead of winter, but you get the idea. I will develop another habit to get my ass in gear appropriately once the snow falls.
- The habit of going to bed at 9 most nights is my attempt to get more sleep. I start brushing my teeth and washing my face somewhere around 8:30. At 9 I’m in bed with a book, ready to read for an hour. I not only have a better chance of 8 hours sleep but I get my fiction fix taken care of.
I have habits in the morning and at night, when I’m the least alert and most in need of structure. The rest of the day is up for grabs but these small habits help supportively bookend my day.
What part of your day would a simple habit help? If you make the change to create non negotiable positive habits you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more relaxing your life can be. It’s OK to go on auto pilot when you’ve set up a habit. Try it and see if you can get into the habit of making small changes for those times when motivation isn’t easy!
What habits would make your life easier?